Now that a full week has passed since California’s state legislature approved the nation’s strongest net neutrality bill and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown still hasn’t signed it into law, lawmakers and open internet advocates are intensifying pressure on the governor to take a firm stand against the telecom lobby and sign SB 822 immediately.
“California net neutrality bill SB 822 passed the legislature with overwhelming and bipartisan support. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign this bill!”
—Fight for the FutureIn a letter (pdf) sent to Brown on Friday, the Center for Media Justice, ACLU of California, and more than a dozen other advocacy groups highlighted the crucial role net neutrality plays in the pursuit of racial justice and urged the governor to sign SB 822 “without delay.”
While the deadline for Brown to sign the legislation is Sept. 30, the governor has yet to take a public stand on net neutrality and his office has refused to comment on SB 822, saying the governor does not “weigh in” on pending legislation.
“Your signature on SB822 would mark a historic victory for black people and other underrepresented groups, advancing the long-held civil rights fight for equal voice, now in a digital age,” the coalition of advocacy groups wrote. “SB 822 prohibits blocking websites, speeding up or slowing down websites or whole classes of applications such as video, and charging websites for access to an ISP’s subscribers or for fast lanes to those subscribers.”
The advocacy group Fight for the Future has also been pressuring Brown to ignore the massive telecom companies “pushing hard for a veto” and sign SB 822, which passed with bipartisan support.
With just over three weeks left before the Sept. 30 deadline, California lawmakers joined open internet advocates in calling on Brown to show leadership on net neutrality and sign the “gold standard” open internet protections into law.
“SB 822 is a crucial step toward ensuring that we have a free and open internet that doesn’t discriminate or price users or content differently,” Democratic Assemblymember Miguel Santiago said during a press conference alongside progressive activists on Thursday. “California must lead by example and show the Trump administration that their backward agenda will not be accepted.”
Mary Lizardi, senior campaign manager at the progressive advocacy group Courage Campaign, expressed confidence on Thursday that Brown will side with the people of California—and the American public as a whole—and sign SB 822.
“Protecting access to the internet is critical to our democracy,” Lizardi said. “We expect Gov. Brown to be on the right side of history.”