#NetNeutrality: California Senate Approves Strict Open-Internet Protections for the State

Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communications Commission building to protest against the end of net neutrality rules Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communications Commission building to protest against the end of net neutrality rules Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

The Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with its plan to repeal the net neutrality protections put in place by the Obama administration in 2015. That has not stopped lawmakers in California from taking action to protect the open internet in their state.

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On Wednesday, the California State Senate approved a bill that would impose even stricter rules than those put in place by President Barack Obama’s FCC to protect net neutrality. As Ars Technica reports, the vote happened just ahead of the FCC’s planned repeal date of June 11, less than two weeks from now.

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The bill, S.B. 822, was introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, in January. It would include a lot of the same provisions as the 2015 federal protections—a ban on throttling, blocking content and paid prioritization. It would also include a ban on paid data-cap exemptions. In addition, the bill prohibits “misleading marketing practices and enacts strong disclosure requirements to better inform consumers,” according to an announcement from Wiener.

S.B. 822 passed the California Senate with a vote of 23-12. All of the votes to approve came from Democrats. The 12 nos were from Republicans.

Now the bill just has to pass the State Assembly—which has a Democratic majority—as well as Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

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Lawmakers in the state of New York are considering a similar bill.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.

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DISCUSSION

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Melanin Monroe

What I find most amusing about this whole thing, is that it has become a case study in “Be careful what you wish for.” ISPs pushed for the repeal of Net Neutrality to squeeze more money out of their subscribers. But now, not only are states stepping in to restore it, they’re also implementing more regulations than were in the old FCC rules. They would’ve been better off simply trying to tweak the existing rules more in their favor. Not to mention, different regulations in different states is a nightmare scenario for them, following one set of rules is easier than having to follow 50. And I think the FCC bit off more than it could chew trying to implement rules that preclude states from making their own Net Neutrality laws.