Hope is not lost as Californians stay positive that the net neutrality bills will still protect them.
The considered California’s “gold standard” net neutrality bill had been shattered during the Assembly committee meeting yesterday. Chairman Miguel Santiago called for a vote on the last minute amendments before any statement has been heard at the hearing.
The Wednesday vote held during the California Assembly committee hearing fostered a projected law that enforces some net neutrality protections. Yet it curbed all the measures of the proposed law that went further the rules of the 2015 Open Internet Order. The unexpected move prompts the vote to take place before the start of the hearing following the feedback from the public.
The maneuver is an extreme impact to Democrats in the Congress and statehouses throughout the country who expect California to establish a formidable guideline as they advance to resurrect robust net neutrality protections to substitute the Title II service the FCC eradicated.
Sen. Kevin de Leon’s SB 460 is about to merge with Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill but was turned down by the committee. The announced amendments that would have linked the two net neutrality bills will no longer happen since it was already denied. It is not clear why Sen. De Leon was not present during the hearing and his spokesman didn’t disclose any details. However, he shared the disappointment of the senator regarding the outcome of the hearing.
Sen. Wiener asked his bill, SB 822 to be withdrawn as amended but the committee voted to push it forward. It is slated for a hearing to be held next week by a different committee. However, the senator said that he is reluctant to bolster the bill as amended.
SB 22 has been perceived as the broadest state net neutrality measure that was brought in from the time the FCC voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order or Title II service of the Obama-era administration. It expired earlier this month and was replaced by the federal agency’s Restoring Internet Freedom.
The State Senate passed SB 822 and was strongly supported by previous FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra along with the mayors of country’s largest cities and a plethora of advocacy groups. However, the proposed rule is heavily disputed by ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others.
“It’s really outrageous how it went down. This is not the right way to move legislation forward,” Sen. Wiener said during a phone interview.
Democrat Representatives Nancy Pelosi (San Francisco) and Anna Eshoo (Palo Alto), made their move which is unusual. They sent a letter to Chairman Santiago this week admonishing him to keep all the extensive protections in Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 822.
Even if the amendments did not pass, the fight still continues as a lot of people, consumer advocacy organizations, as well as other parties, spoke up with boosting SB 822 and acclaimed the amendments as antagonistic. California continues to authorize some form of net neutrality protections. The said bill is yet to face another committee in the California Assembly before reaching Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
Even if Chairman Santiago did not pass the amendments, there is still a platform that caters to the significant needs of Internet users. Decenternet provides them with unrestricted access to different websites with no blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or zero-rating.