California Senate votes for strong net neutrality rules

Karola Riegler/Flickr (CC-BY)

The bill will now head to the state Assembly.

The California state Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would restore net neutrality protections.

The bill, which has been heralded by internet rights advocates, would reinstate rules that are similar to the ones the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal on a national level late last year.

California’s bill, S.B. 822, would prevent internet service providers (ISPs) in the state from blocking, speeding up, slowing down, or offering so-called “paid prioritization” for internet speeds. It would bar ISPs from getting contracts in the state without adhering to the rules.

The bill passed by a 23 to 12 vote. It now needs to pass through the state’s Assembly and, if successful there, would need to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D). The state Senate passed a different bill earlier this year that did not make it through the Assembly.

California’s net neutrality bill has drawn admiration from several internet rights groups. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the bill the “gold standard” for states looking to pass laws in lieu of the FCC’s vote. Meanwhile, Fight for the Future called the bill the “strongest and most comprehensive state-level net neutrality legislation in the country.”

“Internet users are furious about the FCC’s disastrous repeal of net neutrality, and they’re mobilizing en masse to get it back by any means necessary,” Evan Greer, the deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “Today the California State Senate read the writing on the wall, sided with the public, and voted to defy Ajit Pai and enact strong protections against ISP censorship and abuse.”

Several states have taken it upon themselves to pass similar bills and executives orders in the absence of federal-level protections. Montana, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii are among the states who have found ways to restore net neutrality protection since the FCC’s vote.

On a federal level, Congress is also attempting to overturn the FCC’s decision.

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Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).