WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, TechFreedom sent a letter to California Governor Jerry Brown, urging him to veto S.B. 822, legislation recently passed by California lawmakers in late August that would attempt to replicate, and expand upon, the net neutrality rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015, most of which were withdrawn by the FCC this year when the Commission concluded that it lacked the legal authority to regulate broadband services as common carriers.

The letter concludes that:

such state regulation of inherently interstate Internet services violates basic principles of federalism: (1) federal law preempted state regulation of broadband services and (2) state regulation of the Internet violates the Dormant Commerce Clause.

Ultimately, when S.B. 822 is struck down in court, as it almost assuredly will be, California will have wasted valuable taxpayer resources fighting a lengthy, costly, and unwinnable legal battle. Thus, we urge you to veto this legislation. In the interim, California should focus on enforcing its generally applicable consumer protection and competition laws to address net neutrality concerns. Further, California’s congressional delegation should do everything possible to ensure the passage of federal net neutrality legislation.

Signing this bill will simply crack open further the Pandora’s Box of state-by-state Internet regulation,” said Berin Szóka, President of TechFreedom. “If state laws like this one were somehow upheld in court, no state would have as much to lose as California — the home of most of the world’s most successful Internet services. Does anyone in Sacramento really want state legislators in Alabama or Texas writing laws that govern California companies? Instead of piling on, Governor Brown should be taking the lead in opposing state regulation of the Internet. He should urge Congress to finally put net neutrality on firm footing with federal legislation.”

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Szoka is available for comment at media@techfreedom.org. Find or share this release on our website. For more information on the issue, take a look at some of our recent work:

  • Our working draft legal memorandum analyzing the constitutionality of state net neutrality laws

  • Our statement explaining why Rep. Mike Coffman’s net neutrality legislation won’t resolve the debate

  • Our statement on our letter about why CRA won’t restore Title II

  • Only Congress, not the FCC can fix net neutrality, Szóka’s op-ed in WIRED

  • FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr interview on Tech Policy Podcast

  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai interview on the Tech Policy Podcast

  • Pai Brings Unprecedented Transparency to Open Internet Proceeding, Graham Owens’ blog post

  • How net-neutrality advocates would let Trump control the Internet, Szóka’s op-ed in the Washington Post

  • The Feds lost on net neutrality, but won control of the Internet, Szóka’s op-ed in WIRED