After the State Senate approved new legislation to mandate Net Neutrality laws in California earlier this month, a California House committee amended the legislation this week. As a result, the bill removes key consumer protections approved by the Senate.
Democratic State Senator Scott Wiener, a San Francisco legislator who sponsored the bill passed by the California Senate, said he will no longer support the house legislation with the amendments included. Also, Wiener says he may withdraw the bill if he cannot come to an agreement with assembly members.
“These hostile amendments eviscerate the bill and leave us with a net neutrality bill in name only,” Wiener said in a statement. “In negotiations leading up to the committee hearing, I expressed a willingness to negotiate the provisions of the bills – and I remain willing to negotiate – but I can’t support a weak version of net neutrality that eliminates critical provisions.”
Senate Bill 822 passed in late May and enshrines the FCC’s net neutrality regulation from 2015. Earlier this year, the commission voted to remove the regulations, but several states have already begun taking action to stem the move. The California Senate bill bars internet service providers from throttling sponsored content or using deals to incentivize broadband companies from discriminating against other content on their network. While Washington and Oregon state legislatures have already passed laws restoring net neutrality, California’s measure would have gone further by banning zero-rating, which permits internet access to certain websites under specific conditions.
According to Wiener, Democratic Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, chair of the communications and conveyance committee, amended sections that now provide internet service providers with loopholes for charging access fees to content providers. Although Santiago’s committee approved the amended legislation 8-0, he’s pledged to work with Wiener to hammer out a compromise to get the bill to the governor’s desk.