After months of back and forth, changing bills, combining and dismantling, the California legislature has finally adopted a law that, at least for about 40 million Americans, restores the net neutrality protection that has been destroyed by the Trump government this year.
After clearing the state meeting on Thursday, S.B. 822 was adopted by the Senate in a 27-to-12 vote. The bill, written by Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, is now on its way to the office of Governor Scott Brown, where it will be waiting for his signature or veto.
"We did it," said Wiener. "We have adopted the strongest standards for net neutrality in the nation, the core of 21st century life – our economy, our public safety and health systems and our democracy, so Donald Trump's FCC decided to To take a demolition ball to net neutrality protection, we knew that California needed to intervene to ensure that our citizens 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 access to this modern necessity," he added.
Governor Brown has not indicated whether he intends to sign the bill, but adherents in the Senate remain optimistic, said a Democratic Assistant, noting that both US senators from California, Kamala Harris, and Dianne Feinstein had asked for the transition. The bill is also supported by Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
"This bill is not only important for consumer protection, it is also fundamental for freedom of expression so that people can receive the information they choose and forward it to others without interference," said Kevin Baker, legal director of ACLU in California.
Despite being one of the most progressive states in the country, the struggle to restore net neutrality in California was not a simple one. The big broadband providers who are fiercely opposed to S.B. 822 hold enormous power in the golden state. Nonetheless, sway companies such as AT & T and Verizon on the legislators could not ultimately compete with the torrential rains of support from California residents who are equally enthusiastic about this issue.
Flooded with phone calls and e-mails demanding protection from Internet service providers trying to block or slow down online traffic at will, lawmakers who flush with the telecoms were forced to relent. Although their votes were not needed, six Republicans said Thursday "yes."
"When California acts, the world is watching," Stanford Law School professor Barbara van Schewick wrote after the vote, adding: "This bill causes Californians, not the ISPs they pay to go online. , can choose which websites and apps they use. "
The result of Friday's vote is a huge blow to a sector that has spent many years trying to curb its sovereignty over the delivery of online services. Democrats and republicans saw the distance trajectory with great interest, not convinced enough that net neutrality was a matter that was remembered in November. Had a coastal bastion of progressivism like California unable to pass a comprehensive law that reflects the undeclared rules from the Obama era in December, many thought it could not be done anywhere else.
"We hope that other countries can look at this legislation as a model for net neutrality standards," Wiener told Gizmodo.
They will undoubtedly.
Correction: an early version of this story mistakenly identified the governor of California as Scott Brown. His name is Jerry. We regret the mistake.
Update, 20:30: Added number of final votes.