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Californians: Demand a Vote on Your Broadband Privacy Before the Telecom Lobby Runs Out the Clock

DEEPLINKS BLOG
June 30, 2017

What do they do when they can’t win the vote? Try to Stop a Vote.

Right now, politicians in Sacramento are holding up a bill that would restore your broadband privacy rights and directly reject Congress and the Trump Administration’s decision to side with Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.

It is in fact the first bill ready to be enacted into California law that would be a direct response the latest string of efforts in Washington DC to curb consumer protections in broadband access. A.B. 375 (Chau) would ensure your broadband provider must secure your permission first before selling your personal information to third parties.

However, it has been stalled in the Senate Rules Committee – likely due to opposition from major cable and telephone companies. If they are successful at keeping the bill stalled until July 18th, then the bill is dead for the rest of this year.

They can’t win at the vote given the overwhelming public opposition to repealing our privacy rights in the first place, which is why this is their strategy.

Death by Procedure and Denying the Vote

In California, bills must make it past certain policy committees by specific deadlines, or they are dead for the year. But before a bill can be heard in any policy committee, it must be referred out by the Rules Committee in a fairly routine matter of deciding which committees should review and vote on the bill before presentation to the full Assembly and Senate.

Two weeks ago, AB375 became eligible to be referred out of the Senate Rules Committee. Assuming normal procedures, advocates expected to testify in support of the bill at a July 3rd hearing.  However, the legislation has been mysteriously absent from consideration on the Rules Committee agenda. Two weeks have passed, the Senate Rules Committee has met twice, yet A.B. 375 has not been placed on the agenda, debated, or referred out to any policy committee.

This raises significant questions.

Unless Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, who leads the Senate - and chairs the Rule Committee - decides to ignore the pleas of Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon and, instead, follows normal procedural rules and moves the bill forward so it can receive a vote, the telecom lobby will win in arguably the worst way possible - by simply denying your elected representatives from even voting at all.

The Momentum is With Us

California is the 20th state to engage in restoring our broadband privacy rights, but it could be the first state to officially make it law by this year. A vast majority of conservative, liberal, and independent voters opposed Congress repealing our broadband privacy rights and naturally they demanded action. Several print publications in California have written positive reviews about AB 375. And the legislation itself has been thoroughly vetted and is ready for enactment.

We have until July 18th to push AB 375 to the finish line. Pick up the phone ASAP and make your voice heard!

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