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Daily Action: Strengthen Net Neutrality Bills in CA's Legislature


CONTACT:
Sen. Henry Stern:
(916) 651-4027 (Sacramento)
(818) 876-3352
(805) 815-3917 (Calabasas)
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson:
(916) 651-4019 (Sacramento)
(805) 965-0862 (Santa Barbara)
(805) 988-1940 (Oxnard)
ssemblymember Jacqui Irwin: 
(916) 319-2044 (Sacramento)
(805) 482-1904 (Camarillo)
(805) 483-4488 (Oxnard)
Assemblymember Richard Bloom:
(916) 319-2050 (Sacramento)
(310) 450-0041 (Santa Monica)
Assemblymember Dante Acosta:
(916) 319-2038 (Sacramento)
(661) 286-1565 (Santa Clarita)

Short Script:
Hello! My name is _______, and I am a constituent of Senator/Assemblymember ___________'s in ____________, California. I'm calling to urge her/him to support the strongest possible legislation to restore Net Neutrality in our state. The bill passed by the state Senate on Tuesday, SB 460, might be a good start -- but it doesn't carry the full fiscal and regulatory force that California could marshal, in order to demand that Internet Service Providers observe Net Neutrality principles. I'd like to see the Senator/Assemblymember push for tougher rules, via amendments to SB 460 or provisions in another bill such as Senator Scott Wiener's SB 822. Thank you!


BACKGROUND
On Tuesday the California state Senate approved SB 460, which would require Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in the state to observe the Net Neutrality rules that were repealed by Trump's FCC in December. However, advocates for free expression are concerned that the bill's stand-alone re-regulation of ISPs would be overridden by federal policy if the Trump administration challenges the state in court. As SB 460 moves to the state Assembly, those advocates hope it will be amended to go further in attaching Net Neutrality provisions to all state financing and regulation of internet business -- or that a second bill introduced recently, SB 822, might fill in the gaps.

The FCC's decision to roll back the Obama-era Open Internet Order leaves a regulatory void that numerous states have sought to fill. The governors of Montana and New York already have required their state agencies to contract only with ISPs that observe the rules prohibiting the blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization of websites. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that California could do considerably more to ensure Net Neutrality protections for its citizens, in ways the federal government can't cancel out. These include:

  • Requiring ISPs that receive funding under the Broadband Subsidy Program, which has provided hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to providers including AT&T, to provide a free and open internet;
  • Regulating the 4 million-plus broadband utility poles under state control, demanding Net Neutrality conditions in exchange for access to the infrastructure.
  • Empowering local communities to demand neutrality provisions when negotiating the franchise agreements that allow only particular ISPs to operate in each city, and access to the infrastructure that goes with those agreements.