SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) introduced legislation yesterday that aims to protect and preserve net neutrality in California. The California Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018 will be heard in the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications next week, and on the Senate floor by the end of the month.
This comes on the heels of a vote of the Trump Administration’s Federal Communications Commission to repeal strong consumer protection rules for internet neutrality. Those rules were designed to protect consumers from predatory business practices and unfair charges for broadband internet service.
“The FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality is extremely dangerous,” Senator de León said. “In today’s digital world, the internet is critical to free expression, free speech, and democracy. Without strong net neutrality rules, there’s nothing to stop the companies that already monopolize the internet from blocking websites or information altogether, so if the Trump Administration won’t protect consumers – the State of California will.”
California is the most populous state in the nation, with nearly 40 million residents. It is the 6th largest economy on the planet, boasting a broad range of industries, from technology to agriculture; from manufacturing to film and beyond. The state’s population and its economy rely heavily on fair and competitive rules for internet access.
SB 460 (de León) would enact into California State Law the consumer protections and fair competition requirements of “net neutrality” contained in the Obama FCC rules that were repealed last month by the Trump Administration’s FCC. California joins state lawmakers from New York to Washington that have also announced legislation to restore net neutrality protections.
Mark Toney, PhD., Executive Director of The Utility Reform Network added, “Internet use has become absolutely essential to our lives. Access to the internet is necessary in order to make appointments with everyone from your doctor to the DMV. With so much at stake, it makes sense for legislators and regulators to do everything possible to continue the existing net neutrality requirements wherever and whenever they can. We can’t let the backward policies of the Trump Administration dictate how California consumers are treated. The rest of the U.S. depends on California to preserve fast, reliable Internet for the many, not just for the wealthy few. Senator de León’s bill will protect all Californians.”
Orson Aguilar, President of the Greenlining Institute said, “For communities of color, net neutrality is essential to our protection, preservation, and prosperity. Net neutrality ensures that we can tell our stories without fear of censorship, that we can call out injustice wherever it may arise, and that we can empower ourselves academically, economically, and culturally. The Greenlining Institute strongly supports California’s leadership in protecting open access to the internet.”