California is poised to pass the nation’s most stringent net neutrality law, countering the federal government’s recent abandonment of net neutrality protections. The measure passed the state legislature on Friday, and will become law if signed by Governor Jerry Brown, according to CNN.
Democratic State Senator Scott Wiener said in a statement:
“When Donald Trump’s FCC decided to take a wrecking ball to net neutrality protections, we knew that California had to step in to ensure our residents have access to a free and open internet. We hope that other states can look to this legislation as a model for net neutrality standards.”
Brown has yet to announce whether he will sign the bill, and has until September 30th to do so.
The rules would prohibit companies from blocking, slowing, or speeding up access to certain sites or services. On a federal level, similar net neutrality protections were overturned last year by the Federal Communications Commission, headed by Ajit Pai, who said the repeal would stop the government from “micromanaging the internet.”
California’s measure was approved by the state Senate 27 to 12, after being approved 61 to 18 in the Assembly, and enjoys broad support among Democrats.
“This is about a level playing field and an Internet where we as individuals get to decide where we go on the Internet instead of being told by Internet service providers, or manipulated by Internet service providers, into going where they want us to go,” Wiener said, speaking to reporters.
Industry representatives said the group went too far. Johnathan Spalter, president and CEO of USTelecom, an industry group that includes Verizon and AT&T, said in a statement:
“Broadband providers strongly support net neutrality, but SB 822 undercuts California’s long history as a vibrant catalyst for innovation and technology. The internet must be governed by a single, uniform and consistent national policy framework, not state-by-state piecemeal approaches.”
If the measure passes, California will be the fourth state to put in place its own net neutrality rules. However, the laws would also be the farthest reaching. As many as three dozen other states are also considering their own net neutrality measures.
In June, California also passed its own internet privacy regulations modeled off of a similar measure in the European Union, aiming at providing consumers more control over personal data.