Thanks to months of sustained grassroots activism, California's "gold standard" net neutrality bill survived near-successful sabotage efforts by a telecom-backed Democrat and passed out of the state's Communications and Conveyance Committee on Wednesday by a 9-3 vote, clearing one of the last major hurdles before final passage.
"Honestly it's ridiculous and a bit embarrassing for the Democratic Party that net neutrality activists have had to fight so hard to get this bill passed in a state with a supermajority of lawmakers from a party that professes to love the free and open internet."
—Evan Greer, Fight for the Future"The California net neutrality bill SB 822 would have been dead long ago without sustained, hard-hitting activism," Fight for the Future (FFTF) declared in a tweet celebrating Wednesday's news. "Next it heads to the floor. We can't let up now."
In a statement following Wednesday's vote, FFTF deputy director Evan Greer warned that "any California legislator who stands in the way of net neutrality will regret it for the rest of their political career."
"Honestly it's ridiculous and a bit embarrassing for the Democratic Party that net neutrality activists have had to fight so hard to get this bill passed in a state with a supermajority of lawmakers from a party that professes to love the free and open internet," Greer noted, referring to California State Assemblyman Miguel Santiago's amendments that effectively "eviscerated" the legislation in June.
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But after open internet supporters rose up in opposition to Santiago's changes and mounted a strong public pressure campaign, California lawmakers restored the bill's strength and once more placed it on the path to becoming law.
Our #NetNeutrality bill - #SB822 - was just voted out of its final committee. It now heads to the full Assembly for a vote next week. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s have a strong finish & protect the internet! (Thanks @SantiagoAD53 for your partnership.) pic.twitter.com/hStP9He4mZ
— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) August 22, 2018
If passed, the measure would restore the net neutrality protections repealed by the FCC in December and prevent internet service providers from throttling data and charging higher fees for faster speeds.
"SB 822 is the best darn state level net neutrality bill in the nation," Greer concluded. "Passing it should be a no-brainer for the California legislature. This is a test of our democracy."