In an unprecedented move, the California Assembly’s Committee on Communications and Conveyance just bucked standard procedure and railroaded through a vote to amend net neutrality bill SB 822 by adding gaping loopholes asked for by ISPs like Comcast and AT&T, who are a top donor to the committee Chairman, Miguel Santiago.
In the committee hearing, Senator Scott Wiener, the bill’s original author, stunned by the Chairman forcing a vote before the hearing had even started, said that with the new amendments the bill was now "mutilated" and "a fake net neutrality bill."
The forced vote on the Amendments passed 8 - 2, with 4 Democrats joining 4 Republicans to eviscerate SB 822, making them the first Democrats to actively help the Trump administration dismantle net neutrality.
"The level of corruption we just witnessed literally makes me sick to my stomach," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights group with more than 350,000 members in California. "These California democrats will go down in history as among the worst corporate shills that have ever held elected office.Californians should rise up and demand that at their Assembly members represent them. The actions of this committee today are an attack not just on net neutrality, but on our democracy."
These Assembly members voted to gut the bill: Santiago, Garcia, Low, Quirk-Silva, Cervantes, Rodrigues, Maienschein, Kamlager-Dove
These voted against: Obernolte, Mathis
Despite thousands of phone calls from constituents, and letters from Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep Anna Eshoo, Chairman Santiago’s amendments to SB 822 will leave the bill gutted and:
* Allow ISPs to charge websites and small businesses "access fees" just to reach their customers, and block any website or service that doesn’t pay the fee.
* Allows ISPs to circumvent net neutrality protections at the point where data enters the network. Thus, instead of blocking a website as it is transported over the ISP’s network, the ISP can just block it as it enters the ISP’s network
* Allows ISPs to throttle entire classes of applications, (e.g. all online gaming or all online voice calls). Remember that AT&T was previously busted blocking iMessage
* Allows ISPs to Zero-rate their own content, ie AT&T can incentivize you to watch CNN, which they now own, or Comcast can make it free for you to go to NBC’s website while making you use your data to get your news elsewhere.
* Allows ISPs to charge services fees in exchange for zero-rating them, giving large corporations a huge unfair advantage over startups and small businesses.