California net neutrality bill ‘eviscerated’ in Assembly committee meeting

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A California network neutrality bill that advocates hailed as the “gold standard” for Internet protections was “eviscerated,” its chief backer said, in a committee hearing the morning of June 20.  In an 8-0 vote, the state Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee adopted amendments to SB822, by CA State Sen Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which stripped it of provisions that would have given the state the strongest prohibitions against discriminatory treatment of Internet traffic in the country. “It is no longer a net neutrality bill,” a visibly frustrated state Sen Wiener said after the vote. In an unusual move, the committee voted on the bill before Wiener was given a chance to testify. “I will state for the record ... I think it was fundamentally unfair,” he said.

The committee, led by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), issued amendments to the bill late on the night of June 19. Among its recommendations were to permit a controversial internet service provider practice called “zero rating,” where some websites and apps don’t count against a consumer’s data allotment. The committee voted to move the bill to the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee despite state Sen Wiener’s objections. Wiener asked to withdraw the bill, which would have likely killed the proposal because of an upcoming June 29 deadline to pass all policy bills. “These California Democrats will go down in history as among the worst corporate shills that have ever held elected office. Californians should rise up and demand that at their Assembly members represent them. The actions of this committee today are an attack not just on net neutrality, but on our democracy,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.

California net neutrality bill ‘eviscerated’ in Assembly committee meeting California’s net neutrality legislation just got watered down in a big way (Washington Post) Democratic senator attempts to gut California net neutrality bill (Vox) California’s net neutrality bill has just been “eviscerated” (Fast Company) California net neutrality bill gutted at tense Assembly hearing (SJ Mercury News)