California Legislature Plans to Pass Own Net Neutrality

Scott Weiner (AFP / Getty)
AFP / Getty
Newport Beach, CA

California’s Democrat-controlled legislature is again leading the so-called “resistance” to President Donald Trump — this time, by planning to reinstate Net Neutrality rules repealed by FCC’s Republican majority last Thursday.

California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced following the FCC’s 3-2 repeal vote that he will introduce legislation early in 2018 to re-regulate Internet providers under the so-called “People Power” rules.

Weiner told Bay Area public radio station KQED:

We don’t think that the FCC has the power to stop states from enacting our own rules. In fact, the FCC has lost that argument in court before, so we’re going to move forward. California does have significant ways of impacting internet access. We regulate cable franchises. Cable companies and telecommunication companies rely on access to the public right of way for their public infrastructure.

Weiner knows that there are huge constitutional issues regarding a state attempting to preempt federal authority regarding interstate commerce, but he joined a long list of Democrats in California and other states that view dumping Net Neutrality as the crowning achievement of President Trump’s promise to reverse the progressives’ 80-year expansion of government’s reach through unelected bureaucratic rule-making.

Although progressives argue that “Net neutrality is essential to our 21st century democracy, and we need to ensure people can access websites and information freely and fairly,” as Weiner put it in an essay posted at Medium, the Net Neutrality regulatory regime’s main achievement was banning Internet providers from charging tolls on Google, Facebook, Apple and other Silicon Valley tech giants that move massive content on the Internet for free — while many of those same companies restricted conservative speech.

As a declaration of how financially lucrative net neutrality rules were to Silicon Valley tech giants, they spent a record $139.5 million lobbying the Obama administration and the federal bureaucracy in the year leading up to the February 2015 approval of the Net Neutrality rules along party lines.

President Trump took a victory lap for slashing coercive red tape in a national televised address just hours after the FCC vote: “One of the very first actions of my administration was to impose a two-for-one rule on new federal regulations. We ordered that for everyone new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated.”

Trump added that he was proud that his administration is ahead of its goal to dump regulatory tyranny by overturning 22 major regulations and halting 1,500 planned regulatory actions.

“We have a responsibility to push back and we’re going to push back,” Weiner told KQED.

In addition, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), who represents part of Silicon Valley, issued a statement indicating that she would co-write an amicus brief for planned litigation by Santa Clara County and the Attorneys General from several liberal states to halt the repeal of Net Neutrality.

California progressives argue that unbridled competition will be financially detrimental to consumers. But to pass state Net Neutrality re-regulation, they will need to argue against history and economics — to convince voters that President Reagan’s 1982 de-regulation of the AT&T monopoly, for example, did not lead to a spectacular fall in consumer communication costs, and an even bigger boom in the proliferation of telecommunication services.

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