Telecom-Backed Democrat in California Just "Mutilated" Nation's Strongest State Net Neutrality Bill

Following a “major win” for open internet advocates in the California Senate last month, State Assemblyman Miguel Santiago provoked widespread outrage on Wednesday when he “rammed through” amendments that critics say “eviscerate” what “would have been the best net neutrality bill in the country.”

“The level of corruption we just witnessed literally makes me sick to my stomach.”
—Evan Greer,
Fight for the Future

“It is, with the amendments, a fake net neutrality bill,” declared state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, who introduced the original legislation. Wiener said Santiago’s amendments “mutilated” Senate Bill 822, which had passed the higher chamber despite fierce lobbying by the telecom industry.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Wiener is now withdrawing the bill:

Santiago’s amendments, as CNET explained, “scaled back all the measures of the bill that had gone beyond the rules outlined in the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 regulation, which was officially taken off the books by the Trump administration’s commission last week.”

Since the California Senate victory in May, Santiago, chair of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee, reportedly “has been the target of vigorous lobbying” by major internet service providers (ISPs). On Wednesday, he “bucked standard procedure” and held a vote on his amendments before the committee’s hearing even began.

Wiener called the move “fundementally unfair” and even suggested that “it was a violation of the Assembly rules.”