California working to pass its own net neutrality bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- California is trying to join Washington State and Oregon in passing its own net neutrality bill after the FCC reversed the federal net neutrality rules earlier this year.

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"We're standing up for our values, our shared values here in California," says East Bay Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

Bonta and fellow lawmakers from the Bay Area and Los Angeles plan to get a net neutrality law passed in Sacramento. They're stepping in after the Federal Communications Commission repealed rules last month that called for open and equal access for all internet users.

California's proposed law prohibits slowdown of websites. It prohibits preferred sites that might pay for priority or be owned by the provider. And it requires compliance through the signing of state contracts.

"Just like the air is equal, just like speech, everybody has the freedom of speech, therefore internet should be free and equal for everyone and therefore California should start this strong net neutrality protection," said Prof. Melody Moh from San Jose State University's Computer Science Dept.

One of the industry organizations, the California Cable & Telecommunications Association, argues the proposed law "would inhibit investment and innovation in California. What the country needs is permanent bipartisan federal legislation for all companies and across all websites."

Sacramento legislators believe their net neutrality law will hold up in court.

"The telecom and cable companies, they fight hard," said Democratic State Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco. "They are effective, and we're confident that they are going to oppose this strongly until the end."

Santa Clara County has sued the FCC over its repeal of net neutrality.

"We're not alone in that effort," said Joe Simitian, president of the county's Board of Supervisors. "But the case Santa Clara County versus FCC is working its way through the courts and ultimately will be heard back in Washington, DC at some time in the coming months."

Washington and Oregon have already passed their own net neutrality laws.

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