California Gov. Jerry Brown has a signed a bill into law that opens up the Internet for youth in state care. With A.B. 2448, California now requires that all youth in juvenile hall be granted access to the Internet for educational purposes. Meanwhile youth in foster care are also ensured access to the Internet for social and recreational activities.
The success of this bill should be credited to its author, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, and its organizational sponsor, the Youth Law Center. Together they first introduced the measure in 2017 as A.B. 811, which was passed by strong majorities in the legislature, only to die by the governor’s veto pen. This time around, Gov. Brown signed the new bill, which was narrowed at his request.
EFF joined the effort early: we ran email actions and testified in favor of A.B. 2448 before a Senate committee. We also helped rally tech companies such as Facebook to support the bill. Ultimately, this is an enormous victory on behalf of at-risk youth who don’t have the ability to vote or travel to Sacramento to argue their case.
We hope to see this trend grow across the country, with other states and juvenile detention systems taking note that if California can bring the Internet to disadvantaged youth, so can they. Again, we thank Assemblymember Gipson and the Youth Law Center for championing this bill, and we look forward to collaborating with them on future efforts.