Senator Wiener’s Net Neutrality Bill Passes Out of its Final Committee and Advances to the Assembly Floor

Senate Bill 822—which restores Obama-era net neutrality protections in California—passed out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee and heads to the Assembly floor for a vote next week
August 22, 2018

Sacramento–  Today, Senate Bills 822 and 460, which enact the strongest net neutrality protections in the country, passed out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee. SB 822 now heads to the Assembly floor, and SB 460 heads to the Assembly Privacy Committee. SB 822 - which sets the net neutrality standards - is authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and SB 460 is authored by Senator Kevin de Leon (D- Los Angeles).

SB 822 was heard again in committee as a result of having been amended earlier this month after Senator Wiener and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D- Los Angeles), chair of the committee, agreed to the restoration of key protections that were removed when the bill was initially heard in the committee in June. The bill advanced today with all key protections intact. 

“Restoring full net neutrality protections in California is within sight,” said Senator Wiener. “The internet is at the heart of 21st century life - our economy, our public safety and health systems, our democracy - and we must protect it. The core premise of net neutrality is that we get to decide where we go on the internet, as opposed to telecom and cable companies telling us where to go. Today’s committee action sending SB 822 to the floor is a big step forward, but we continue to face a huge fight, as the big telecom and cable companies will stop at nothing to kill the bill. Yet, we have momentum and the support of a broad and diverse coalition that understands the importance of a free and open internet for everyone. I look forward to working with our supporters and everyday Californians to get this vital piece of legislation to the Governor’s desk.”

"When Washington, D.C. abandons its obligation to protect American consumers from predatory special interests, California must step up and do D.C.’s job,” said Senator de León.  "Net neutrality is critical to safeguarding the integrity of our democracy, which is why we are committed to making sure that every single Californian has equal access to the information and resources on the internet.  I’m proud to stand with Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, united behind the strongest net neutrality bill in the nation."

"In the aftermath of Trump’s destruction of the internet, we are advancing legislation with the strongest net neutrality and consumer protections in the nation. California leads the fight for a free and open internet that doesn’t discriminate or price users or content differently” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. “The fight for social change and progressive values is directly tied to a free and open internet. Citizens United, the Janus decision and now the threat of a Supreme Court nomination under Trump makes this net neutrality legislation more important than ever. It is essential to our Democracy and the future of our movement powered by people.”

"California is now even closer to implementing the strongest net neutrality laws in the country,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “As a co-author of Senate Bill 822, I’m committed to seeing this important bill pass its next hurdle on the Assembly floor. SB 822 will ensure equal, fair and open access to the internet for every California resident.”

SB 822 prohibits blocking websites, speeding up or slowing down websites or whole classes of applications such as video. ISPs will also be prohibited from circumventing these protections at the point where data enters their networks and from charging access fees to reach ISP customers. SB 822 will also ban ISPs from violating net neutrality by not counting the content and websites they own against subscribers’ data caps. This kind of abusive and anti-competitive “zero rating,” which leads to lower data caps for everyone, would be prohibited, while “zero-rating” plans that don’t harm consumers are not banned.

SB 460 focuses on requiring ISPs that enter into state contracts to adhere to net neutrality principles. This provision ensures that public entities only expend taxpayer funds on contracts with ISPs that comply with California’s comprehensive net neutrality protections.

SB 822 is supported by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, former Obama FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and a broad coalition of state leaders, public interest groups, labor organizations, social justice advocates, small businesses, start-ups, internet service providers, California mayors and local governments, and tens of thousands of California residents.

Senator Wiener and Senator de Leon are joint authors of SB 822 and SB 460, and Assemblymembers Santiago and Bonta are co-authors of both bills. SB 822 is also co-authored by Senators Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), Connie Leyva (D-Chino), Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), and Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside), David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), Adrin Nazarian (D- North Hollywood), Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), and Jim Wood (D- Santa Rosa). 

SB 460 Bill text: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB460

SB 822 Bill text: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB822