Senator Wiener’s Bill to Enact the Strongest Net Neutrality Protections in the Nation Passes the California Legislature and Heads to Governor for Approval

September 1, 2018

Sacramento– Today, Senate Bill 822, which enacts the strongest net neutrality protections in the country, passed the California Legislature with a vote of 27-12. SB 822 now goes to the Governor for his signature. The bill is authored by Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

“We did it,” said Senator Wiener. “We passed the strongest net neutrality standards in the nation. The internet is at the heart of 21st century life - our economy, our public safety and health systems, and our democracy. So 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. I am incredibly proud of the work we have done to protect Californians everywhere, who deserve equal and open to access to this modern day necessity. This was by no means an easy feat. I am grateful to my colleagues for taking the time to understand this nuanced issue, and am thankful to our diverse coalition who helped to organize grassroots support throughout our State. We hope that other states can look to this legislation as a model for net neutrality standards.”

“Preserving a free and open internet is a matter of free speech; essential to the underpinning of our democracy,” said Senator de León. When Washington, D.C. abandons its obligation to protect American consumers from predatory special interests, California steps up to get the job done.  I’m proud to stand with Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and all our colleagues in the Legislature who are united behind SB 822 and SB 460 - the strongest net neutrality protections in the nation.”

“Today, we advanced the strongest net neutrality legislation in the nation,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “SB 822 is a crucial step towards ensuring that we have a free and open internet that doesn’t discriminate or price users or content differently. This is a big win in our people-powered movement against the Trump Administration’s destruction of the internet.”

“With SB 822, California is once again poised to lead the way by creating the strongest Net Neutrality protections in the nation,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “Californians have spoken up and been heard. A free and open Internet is critical to our lives and livelihoods. As a lead co-author on SB 822, I want to thank Senator Scott Wiener for bringing this vital measure forward and I’m optimistic Governor Brown also sees the importance of protecting this indispensable element of modern life.”

SB 822 prohibits blocking websites, speeding up or slowing down websites or whole classes of applications such as video. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are prohibited from circumventing these protections at the point where data enters their networks and from charging access fees to reach ISP customers. SB 822 also bans 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 allowed.

“We applaud the leadership of Senators Scott Wiener and Kevin de León, and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta and Miguel Santiago, and the rest of the California legislature for their courageous stand against some of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful companies in the country -- AT&T, Comcast and Verizon -- and for voting to pass the most powerful Net Neutrality legislation in the country," Said Tim Molina, Political Director of the California-based Courage Campaign. “With the strongest net neutrality legislation in the country, California now leads the way in guaranteeing access to the internet for all. Protecting access to the internet and the free flow of information online is critical to our democracy and this bill is an important first step to reinstating net neutrality across America.”

“The Internet belongs to all of us,” said Ted Mermin, director of the California Low-Income Consumer Coalition. “The power company doesn’t get to charge more for ‘premium’ electricity and the water company doesn’t get to discriminate by slowing some people’s water service to a trickle at the end of the month. This bill is overdue. Once again, the federal government has failed to lead, and California has stepped forward.”

“This bill is not just important for consumer protection, it is fundamental to free speech so that people can receive and send the information they choose and connect with others without interference,” said Kevin Baker, Legislative Director for the ACLU of California.

SB 822 is supported by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Ro Khanna, 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 León are joint authors of SB 822, and Assemblymembers Santiago and Bonta are co-authors. 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 822 Bill text: