New bill would ensure over 39 million Californians have protections as strong as those repealed by the FCC late last year.
This morning California State Senator Scott Wiener introduced California Senate Bill 822, which would ensure Californians enjoy net neutrality protections as strong as those repealed by the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December. The bill, which is being commended by experts, ensures that Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in the state of California will be prohibited from blocking content, slowing certain sites or services, or charging new fees for users and companies to reach audiences online. It also bans harmful “zero rating” practices that benefit large incumbent companies while harming innovation.
Responding to this morning’s news, Evan Greer, Deputy Director for Fight for the Future (pronouns she/her) had this to say:
“It’s amazing to see more and more states join the fight for net neutrality, and help fill the massive hole left by the FCC’s reckless repeal. Today’s news from California shows that constituents in the country’s most populous state are deeply concerned about the loss of real net neutrality protections. The fact that state lawmakers have drafted such comprehensive net neutrality protections should send a strong signal to members of Congress who will soon vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to block the FCC’s December repeal.
Momentum is growing for net neutrality, as California joins the ranks of states like Montana, Washington, and over a dozen others currently debating what can be done to prevent their residents from ISPs blocking, throttling, and charging them new fees. Internet users and businesses cannot afford to be left unprotected while Congress decides what they’re going to do about the FCC’s deeply unpopular repeal. Thankfully states like California are stepping up, but Congress needs to follow suit and support the CRA to restore protections for all.”
Below are resources containing more information on California Senate Bill 822 and other state level-initiatives:
Nearly 20 Louisiana-based businesses signed a letter calling on Kennedy to support resolution to block FCC repeal of open Internet protections
Louisiana businesses are expressing anger and frustration after Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) announcedthe introduction of anti-net neutrality legislation that would legalize Internet fast lanes and new fees, and prevent states from enacting their own open Internet protections, which are essential for startups and small businesses that drive the states economy.
Nearly twenty Louisiana-based small businesses signed an open letter, along with more than 500 other businesses across the US, calling on Senator Kennedy and other lawmakers to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality and restore rules that prevent Internet providers from imposing new fees, throttling apps and websites, or blocking online content.
“Users and businesses need certainty that they will not be blocked, throttled or charged extra fees by Internet service providers. We cannot afford to be left unprotected while Congress deliberates,” the letter reads. Louisiana businesses signing include Anntoine Marketing + Design, Concurrent Processing Inc, CotingaSoft, EPK Louisiana, Lookfar, inDEPTH Media, Intuitiv Designs, Made in the Shade Blinds and More, New Orleans Secrets Tours, and The Parlor. See the full list here.
“It is unfortunate that Senator Kennedy has come out on the side of large, out of state companies instead of on the side of Louisiana-based small businesses and individuals,” Chris Reade, President and CEO of New Orleans startup studio Lookfar, “I certainly hope he realizes that he’s siding with taking away people’s freedom and decides to support the CRA.”
“Net Neutrality keeps us from being punished in a pay-to-play system that hurts new and creative businesses. This issue isn’t about politics or party lines, it’s about preserving the democratic nature of the internet, said Greg Tilton, Co-Founder of inDEPTH Media, “If Senator Kennedy really cares about listening to constituents he’ll drop his bill and support the CRA to restore net neutrality as soon as possible.“
Senator Kennedy’s proposed bill is a companion to a widely criticized bill introduced by Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), which is not a “compromise” or even a “weak net neutrality bill,” but rather a bill that destroys the core principles of net neutrality while claiming to save it. Unlike the CRA, which would restore net neutrality protections for small businesses, this bill would:
Legalize paid prioritization, opening the floodgates for ISPs to charge new fees and discriminate between online content
Kneecap the FCC’s ability to prevent abuse from ISP monopolies, and
Prevent states from enacting their own net neutrality rules (like the ones Washington and Oregon just passed and dozens of other states are considering.)
Senator Kennedy has told Politico that he is still considering support for the CRA resolution, despite the introduction of this bill. Small businesses in his state, and millions of Internet users across the country, are hoping he will withdraw his legislation and instead commit to voting for the CRA, which would ensure protection from ISP abuses while Congress deliberates.
After claiming he was considering support for the CRA to save net neutrality, Sen. Kennedy ignores Louisiana small businesses and millions of Americans and pushes widely-criticized legislation that undermines the open Internet while claiming to save it
UPDATE: Politico is now reporting that Senator Kennedy says he is still considering supporting the CRA. If he truly cares about the open Internet, he should publicly state his support for the CRA and withdraw this legislation that would undermine net neutrality.
Today Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana betrayed his constituents, Louisiana small businesses, and millions of Internet users by introducinga widely-criticized piece of net neutrality legislation for consideration in the Senate. The bill is a companion to legislation proposed by Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), one of the most notorious anti-Internet lawmakers in Congress, who has takenmore than $600,000 from the telecom lobby and is widely perceived as a shill for the industry.
Fight for the Future issued the following statement, which can be attributed to deputy director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
“Louisiana residents, small businesses, and Internet users from across the political spectrum asked Senator Kennedy to be a hero. Instead, he stabbed them in the back. Honestly, the Senator should resign over this. The fact that he thinks his constituents would be fooled by this trojan horse legislation is insulting.
If Senator Kennedy cares one iota about protecting businesses and residents in his state, he should support the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to restore net neutrality rules, rather than offering a bill that was basically written by Comcast’s lobbyists, and that has no chance of passing anyway.
Senator Kennedy will be forever remembered as a lawmaker who could have stood up to telecom monopolies and been a hero, but chose instead to betray the entire Internet. Hopefully other Republican Senators do not make the same mistake.”
Senator Kennedy’s move shows blatant disregard for the massive momentumbehind the movement to restore net neutrality rules. 3 out of 4 Republican voters oppose the FCC’s repeal, and a net neutrality bill in Washington State just passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Fight for the Future has pledged to notify large numbers of voters about where Senators and Representatives stand on the CRA resolutions to save net neutrality ahead of the 2018 election.
As hundreds of websites participate in Operation: #OneMoreVote kick-off, Internet activists announce that more than 2.3 million people have asked lawmakers to block FCC repeal by passing CRA resolutions
Following a successful day of action kicking off a sustained campaign to block the FCC’s unpopular repeal of net neutrality, Internet activists announced today that more than 2.3 million people have used BattleForTheNet.com and other tools to contact their lawmakers in support of using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to restore basic open Internet protections.
Tuesday, as the CRA resolutions were introduced in the Senate and House, more than 1,700 websites, including popular companies like Reddit, Tumblr, Sonos, Etsy, Kickstarter, Private Internet Access, and Medium, helped sound the alarm online, while Internet users gathered in Washington, DC and outside of Senate offices in Alaska, Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Utah, and Kansas. Dozens of small businesses met with key Republican lawmakers to express their support for the CRA.
“Outside of Washington, DC this is not a partisan issue, and that’s why we’re bringing the entire Internet together to demand that lawmakers of both parties support the CRA to restore net neutrality,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “We’re not in this to win points for either party, we’re in it to win this fight and defend the Internet as an open platform for free expression and exchange of ideas.”
Since the FCC’s December 14th vote to repeal, net neutrality advocates have been pressuring members of Congress to endorse the CRA. As Operation: #OneMoreVote kicks off the Congressional debate over the CRA, here is what Internet activists have managed to achieve:
More than 2.3 million actions asking lawmakers to support the net neutrality CRA.
#NetNeutrality trended in the US on both Twitter and Facebook on Feb 27
More than 650,000 people used text messaging to take action, and will receive updates on how their lawmakers vote on the CRA
More than 200,000 phone calls to lawmakers in recent weeks through BattleForTheNet.com and other tools
Major websites including Reddit, Kickstarter, Medium, GitHub, Sonos and Pornhub, and over 1,700 others, displayed prominent site-wide alerts to their users.
Hundreds of small and medium sized businesses signed an open letter supporting the CRA at BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com.
54 subreddits participated by adding prominent announcements and collectively represent over 58,913,281 subscribers.
These numbers represent the work of a broad coalition of public interest groups, startups, and popular websites. The CRA resolutions are the most likely path to restoring net neutrality protections while Congress deliberates. They require a simple majority in the Senate and House, as opposed to 60 votes needed in the Senate for traditional legislation. Internet activists plan to wage an all out war to pass the CRA in the House, where they will need to secure votes from more than 20 Republicans to hit the 218 needed to force a floor vote.
While pundits have repeatedly claimed that the CRA would “definitely” face a White House veto, Republican FCC Commissioner O’Rielly told Politico that he’s unsure that would happen. President Trump is anything but predictable, and polling shows that 75% of his base opposed the FCC’s repeal of basic online free speech protections.
“The Internet has changed the rules for what is and isn’t possible in Washington, DC,” Greer added, “Stopping SOPA was considered impossible. Winning the Title II rules we’re defending now was considered impossible. We’re in the business of accomplishing the impossible. We’re fighting to win.”
Major websites like Tumblr, Reddit, Medium, and Etsy join online protest, in-district events planned in 8 key Senate districts, rally in Washington, DC
Net neutrality supporters and major web platforms like Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, Medium, and GitHub are planning Operation: #OneMoreVote, a mass day of online and offline action this Tuesday, February 27, to secure the final vote needed to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution in the Senate to block the FCC’s resoundingly unpopular repeal of rules that prevent Internet providers from controlling what websites and apps web users can use with censorship, throttling, and new fees.
Internet users, small businesses, online communities, public interest groups and popular websites will harness their reach to flood lawmakers with phone calls and emails from constituents, while high-traffic websites will help sound the alarm with prominent alerts encouraging visitors to take action. Offline, net neutrality supporterswill gatheroutside 8 key Senate offices across the country, as well as at a rally outside the Senate in Washington, DC.
The day of action is being organized by Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press Action Fund, the groups behind BattleForTheNet.com and many of the largest online protests in history. Well-known companies like Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, Medium, Vimeo, Imgur, Namecheap, DuckDuckGo, Private Internet Access, Fiverr, Patreon, and KnowYourMeme, Sonos have announced their participation, along with groups like Consumer Reports, the ACLU, Common Cause, Engine, CCIA, Change.org, National Hispanic Media Coalition, and Creative Commons. Participants continue to stream in as the date approaches.
“The CRA is a simple up or down vote on the future of the free and open Internet. There are fifty US Senators who have a decision to make: are they going to listen to lobbyists who are paid to lie to them, or are they going to listen to their constituents and small businesses in their district?” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future. “Internet users need net neutrality protections now, not months or years from now as court battles play out and Congress deliberates on legislation that’s unlikely to pass, and might not protect us even if it did. Make no mistake: every member of Congress who fails to publicly support the CRA is casting their vote against net neutrality, and will be seen by voters as an enemy of Internet freedom come election time.”
The FCC’s resoundingly unpopular net neutrality repeal was published in the Federal Register last week, officially starting a countdown of 60 legislative days to pass a Senate resolution to reverse the order. 50 senators have already come out in support of the CRA, which would overturn the FCC’s December 14th decision and restore net neutrality protections that are supported by more than 83% of voters from across the political spectrum. The February 27th push is laser-focused on securing the final vote needed to pass the resolution in the Senate. Advocates will also take the fight to the House of Representatives, where net neutrality supporters plan to wage an all-out war to reach the 218 supporters (a simple majority) needed to force the CRA to the floor.
If the CRA passes both houses, it will go to the President’s desk. The White House—which has criticized mergers and other actions by large telecom companies—has been noticeably quiet about the FCC repeal, which was unpopular with voters from across the political spectrum including 3 out of 4 Republicans. While a veto is possible, the reality is that no one can predict what Trump will do. Republican FCC Commissioner O’Rielly told Politico in January that he was unsure President Trump would veto a CRA if it landed on his desk.
Over the last year net neutrality has emerged as a mainstream political issue, with millions of people contacting their lawmakers, broad participation from small businesses, major web companies, and even brands like Burger King, and hundreds of volunteer-led grassroots protests, in-district meetings, and petition deliveries to congressional offices. Previous days of action onJuly 12and December 12drove unprecedented numbers of phone calls, emails, and comments to lawmakers and the FCC.