California passes ‘net neutrality’ bill; SCV legislators support

Signal file photo of the state's Capitol building in Sacramento

A bill that would provide the toughest set of net neutrality protections nationwide passed the California Assembly on Thursday, the day before the legislative session ends.

Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, who welcomed feedback from constituents ahead of the vote, held off on taking a stance ahead of the vote but, ultimately, supported the bill, which passed 58-17.

“Today, I voted to stand with the hundreds of people from my district who reached out to my office in support of SB 822, California’s historic Net Neutrality bill,” Acosta said. “I am dedicated to an open and fair internet for all people. This was an important bipartisan effort that I supported on behalf of the entire 38th Assembly District.”

If signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, this bill would restore many of the provisions, such as preventing paid prioritization and stopping Internet service providers from blocking or clogging up citizen cyber traffic — essentially making the Internet as free for all to use as possible, according to the bill’s supporters.

It also bans “zero-rating,” the practice of offering free data for some applications but not others.

Acosta’s opponent in November’s 38th Assembly District race, Newhall School Board member Christy Smith, said “at a minimum,” California needs to uphold the policy instituted by President Barack Obama with respect to net neutrality.

“With regard to net neutrality, at a minimum in California, we should be expecting Obama-era neutrality protections,” Smith said. “My concern in particular is in rural and marginalized communities without access,” she said, “and for kids of all ages in an educational environment who still don’t have access to internet, and to a wide variety of instructional tools that are available to them and their teachers online.”

Gov. Jerry Brown now has 12 days to sign the bill into law.

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