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Judge rules in favor of California’s net neutrality bill

The decision gives the state the right to regulate the internet

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After sweating through challenges from both President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and broadband groups, the state of California can finally enforce its landmark net neutrality law.

Ending a three-year battle for a state’s right to regulate the internet, Judge John Mendez ruled in favor of California by allowing the law (SB-822) to go into effect, leaving one last wrinkle to be ironed out. Mendez declined to grant the telecom industry a preliminary injunction that it had asked for, and he thinks its chances of winning are slim. 

“Mendez says it should be up to Congress, not federal courts, to regulate #NetNeutrality," tweeted MLEx journalist Mike Swift and The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner as they watched Mendez announce his decision. 

The judge said from his bench that he will deny an injunction that would block the bill purely for legal reasons, not because of political views.

“When you have to deal with legislation drafted in 1934 in 2021, I don’t think anyone is well served ...That is Congress' job. They have to keep up with what is going on in the real world,” Mendez said.

FCC official applauds the decision

Jessica Rosenworcel, the acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) toasted the decision from Capitol Hill. 

“When the FCC, over my objection, rolled back its #netneutrality policies, states like California sought to fill the void with their own laws. Tonight a court in California decided that the state law can go into effect. This is big news for #openinternet policy,” Rosenworcel tweeted.

Rosenworcel has been pushing for a move like this for years. When the FCC issued its Open Internet Order in 2015, she voiced her opinion strongly. 

“Our Internet economy is the envy of the world. We invented it. The applications economy began here on our shores. The broadband below us and the airwaves all around us deliver its collective might to our homes and businesses in communities across the country,” she wrote when the Order was released.

“What produced this dynamic engine of entrepreneurship and experimentation is a foundation of openness. Sustaining what has made us innovative, fierce, and creative should not be a choice -- it should be an obligation.”

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