Net neutrality advocates are preparing crowdfunded billboards to target two California Assemblymembers who are rumored to be among the few Democrats considering helping ISPs like AT&T and Comcast sink the net neutrality bill SB 822 by introducing hostile floor amendments on Friday.
See a preview of the billboard designs here: https://imgur.com/a/vUIhzRI
The potential ambush of SB 822 comes amidst widespread public outcry following reports that Verizon throttled service to firefighters battling the worst wildfire in the state’s history. The now repealed FCC net neutrality rules would have provided the possibility of redress for the fire department. SB 822 would allow the State Attorney General to investigate such incidents.
The bill cleared a key committee hearing yesterday and is how headed for a final vote on the Assembly floor. But sources in Sacramento say that ISP lobbyists are launching a desperate last-ditch attempt to stop SB 822 by getting Democrats (many of whom they make large campaign contributions to) to side with Republicans and force a vote on hostile floor amendments to rip out key protections in the bill. Due to parliamentary rules, the only day they could actually succeed with this plan is this Friday.
SB 822 is widely regarded as the best state-level net neutrality bill in the country. It just passed a crucial vote in front of the same committee where it was unceremoniously gutted last month at the behest of ISP lobbyists. This time the bill passed with the blessing of the committee chairman Miguel Santiago, who has become an ardent supporter of the bill after facing massive public outcry and the threat of crowdfunded billboards in his district.
If the bill avoids a last-minute knife in the back on Friday, it will head to a final vote on the Assembly floor, likely next week. If it passes on the floor it will head back to the Senate, which will need to vote on the updated version of the bill.