California lawmakers vote to pass toughest net neutrality law in the nation

Most state-level bills have just copied the text of the FCC's 2015 net neutrality rules, leaving out critical protections.

In a major victory for the open internet that could have ripple effects throughout the United States, the California Senate on Friday thwarted aggressive lobbying by the telecom industry and passed the strongest, most comprehensive net neutrality bill in the nation.

It remains unclear whether Governor Jerry Brown would have signed the law if it had passed.

Broadband providers would not be able to slow down or block websites or charge higher fees for faster speeds, according to the legislation sponsored by Sen. As of now 30 total states have introduced bills to save net neutrality, as well as state governors in NY and Montana signing executive orders to ensure that communications providers must treat all data on the internet equally.

The final bill passage came after the state Assembly voted 61 to 18 to approve the measure Thursday, followed by a 27-to-12 vote Friday by the Senate, reports The Washington Post. 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.

"The premise fundamentally of net neutrality is that we as individuals get to decide where we go on the internet as opposed to be told by internet service providers", said Sen.

Many advocates for net neutrality find the California legislation hopeful.

After passing in the Assembly on Wednesday, SB-826 breezed easily through the Senate yesterday.

If the bill becomes law, some of Silicon Valley's biggest corporations might have to make changes.

Supporters of Net Neutrality protest the FCC's recent decision to repeal the program in Los Angeles, California, November 28, 2017. The rules prevented internet companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

California's laws have enormous influence across the country. "This historic Assembly vote is a testament to the power of the internet".

The legislation "requires publicly traded corporations to satisfy quotas regarding the number of women on its board or face significant penalties, which is likely unconstitutional, a violation of California's Civil Rights statute, and a violation of the internal affairs doctrine for publicly held corporations", the statement says. They call it a bailout of Pacific Gas & Electric company.

  • Joey Payne