California Assembly passes net neutrality bill

Sunday, 02 Sep, 2018

For months, net neutrality proponents have advocated for the bill's passage-the bill would bar internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down internet traffic-and have called it a "gold standard" bill for states looking to pass laws in light of the FCC's decision past year.

Jerry Brown will decide whether California should have the nation's strongest protections for net neutrality rules meant to ensure a level playing field on the internet after the measure cleared the final legislative hurdle on Friday.

The fight isn't over yet: The state senate still needs to pass it, and Governor Jerry Brown (D), will need to sign it.

"This bill is the strongest legislation restoring and defending net neutrality protections in any state-and prevents internet service providers from blocking, throttling, slowing content, or engaging in anti-consumer practices like zero-rating", said Carli Stevenson, campaigner for the advocacy group Demand Progress.

The state's Senate received enough votes for the measure just a day after the state Assembly approved it. "Governor Brown should use his veto pen on this legislation, and Congress should step in to legislate and provide consumer protections that will resolve this issue once and for all", said a statement from Jonathan Spalter, chief executive of USTelecom, an industry trade group. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, and Republicans have called for an end to the utility-like oversight of internet service providers.

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More than 20 states are suing the FCC to overturn the agency's decision on net neutrality.

Now that it has passed the California State Assembly, SB822 moves on to the State Senate where it should have no difficulty passing.

Meanwhile, net neutrality advocates cheered what they called a testament to the power of the internet. In June, Gov. Brown signed into law a sweeping new privacy law. It would have denied public contracts to companies that fail to follow the new state internet rules, but it sunk amid opposition over last-minute amendments. It gave California internet users the ability to know what information a company like Facebook or Google was collecting, and how it was being used and shared with third parties.

The state Senate on Friday sent a broad proposal to Gov.

Organizations that oppose the bill argue that it only addresses one type of diversity and could be a violation of the state or federal constitution if, say, a company has to turn down a male candidate or swap out a male board member for a female one.