Two California Democratic state senators have linked their net neutrality bills in advance of a hearing on the bills this week in the Assembly's Communications & Conveyance Committee.
Senators Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), said they had been in discussions about joining forces, including announced that they will become co-sponsors of each other's bills, SB 822 (Wiener) and SB 460 (de Leon).
The link is something called "contingent enactment," which means for either to become law, both must become law.
The legislators say they have faced a lobbying push against the bill from AT&T and other ISPs, particularly provisions that would apply net neutrality rules to interconnections and the bill's ban on cahrging Web owners "access fees," as the senators put it.
Related: Pai Issues Net Neutrality Facts
SB 822 prohibits blocking throttling and paid prioritization, restoring for the state the FCC net neutrality regs the FCC repealed June 11, as well as applying those for interconnections as well. SB 822 would also prevent ISPs from carving out owned content from usage-based pricing.
SB 460 is being amended to focus on requiring ISPs with government contracts to comply with the new state net neutrality principles.
“At the California Department of Justice, we have been unwavering in our defense of net neutrality rules," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. "Now that Senators Scott Wiener and Kevin de Leon are moving forward with a unified effort to preserve net neutrality in California, we are proud to offer our strong support. Our state is home to countless start-ups and technology giants alike. Net neutrality rules matter because every consumer has a right to access online content without interference or manipulation by their internet service provider. We will do what is necessary to protect that right.”
"“The free and open Internet is essential for every social movement combating corruption and authoritarianism," said Fight for the Future Executive Director Evan Greer. "California Assembly members need to listen to their constituents, small business owners, and community groups – not AT&T’s lobbyists. The whole Internet is watching.”
The hearing on the bills is slated for June 20.
Approved by a Republican majority last December, the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which nullified the 2015 Open Internet Order's net neutrality rules, also said states could not reverse that decision with their own net neutrality rules, so a court fight is almost certainly brewing over such efforts, which are being undertaken in several states.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee teed up the states' rights fight with Washington, D.C., March 5, when he signed what he proudly proclaimed was the first state law imposing net neutrality "protections" in the wake of the FCC's reg rollback.
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