California Senate Bill 822 passed its first hurdle and will advance to the Judiciary Committee for review on April 24, 2018. In spite of intense opposition from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), public will and grassroots organizing efforts prevailed.
However, the Bill did not pass without some revisions. A notable change is a modification in the public’s favor. The revised Bill would require California’s Attorney General to enforce the rules instead of its Public Utilities Commission. California is one of 21 states challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Net Neutrality repeal. The Attorney General has a vested interest as well as the requisite expertise to enforce Net Neutrality rules that protect California residents. On the contrary, a concession that favors corporate interest would excuse certain companies that install fiber optic, copper, and other cable lines from complying with the new Net Neutrality framework as a condition of obtaining state contracts.
NHMC reiterated its support for this legislation in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Chair. As stated in the letter, “Once the FCC’s order takes effect, ISPs will be free to slow down, block, and even censor content which does not comport with corporate interests. These practices will have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on Latinos and other marginalized communities still too often on the wrong side of the digital divide.”