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Net neutrality protestors. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first lawsuits challenging the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules were filed Thursday, kicking off the next battle over how internet service providers handle the web traffic coursing through their networks.

Why now? The FCC's repeal was finally published in the Federal Register Thursday, which opened the floodgates to lawsuits and started the clock on a congressional effort to undo the FCC's decision.

What's happening in court:

  • A wide range of companies, state attorneys general and advocacy groups are trying to reverse the repeal. Mozilla, Public Knowledge, the Open Technology Institute, Vimeo and a group of state attorneys general were among those who filed suit Thursday.
  • Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google, Snap, Microsoft and others, says it plans to intervene on their behalf in the courts.

What's happening in Congress:

A resolution to roll back the repeal and re-instate net neutrality rules is one lawmaker shy of having the support it needs to pass the Senate when Democrats force a vote on it later this year.

  • That measure is unlikely, however, to pass in the House or be signed by President Trump. Congress has 60 legislative days to take action on the issue — and activists are pushing lawmakers they think might be on the fence to support the measure.
  • "The FCC and Chairman [Ajit] Pai just triggered a timeline that will culminate in a Senate vote on my resolution, and we cannot let up until we win," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is leading the resolution.
  • At a press conference on Thursday, Pai declined to comment on the agency’s plan for dealing with the legislation.

What's happening in the states:

  • Some state lawmakers are also trying to pass their own net neutrality rules, crossing into murky legal territory because the FCC has said its repeal pre-empts state law.
  • Governors have also issued orders saying that internet service providers that do business with their states have to comply with net neutrality principles.

What’s next?: The repeal is expected to take full effect later this year, after the Office of Management and Budget reviews part of the proposal.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.