The state is replacing regulations struck down by the Federal Communications Commission.
(TNS) — The state Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would replace the federal government’s repealed net neutrality regulations, sending the measure to the Assembly.
The Senate voted 23-12 to approve the bill by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.
“When Donald Trump’s FCC took a wrecking ball to the Obama-era net neutrality protections, we said we would step in to make sure that California residents would be protected from having their Internet access manipulated,” Wiener said in a statement after the vote.
Assembly committee hearings start in June. The bill must be passed by that chamber by the end of August.
Wiener pushed SB822 as a way for California to assert national leadership in the years-long debate over whether government should regulate Internet service providers to ensure that all web traffic is treated equally.
He introduced the bill a month after the Federal Communications Commission voted to revoke Obama-era net neutrality rules. Most of the FCC’s order took effect April 23, although some rules aren’t set to expire until June 11.
One of the no votes came from Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel (Orange County), who argued that the bill “still has some significant problems,” including potentially undermining Internet companies’ investments in broadband.
The state has another net neutrality bill pending. SB460, by state Sen. Kevin de León, D- Los Angeles, passed the Senate Jan. 29, but has yet to be scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly.
Wiener’s bill drew more attention nationally because it was far more comprehensive, seeking to replace all of the regulations the FCC threw out. The bill also drew intense opposition, particularly from large Internet providers like AT&T and Comcast.
“The bill is a dog’s breakfast of legal errors and technical impossibilities,” Larry Downes, project director for the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, wrote in an opinion piece in Forbes.
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