Californian lawmakers gathered enough votes on Friday to pass the nation's toughest net neutrality law to prevent ISPs from favoring certain sites, a fight with the federal agencies that wanted to scrap those rules last year ,
If Governor Jerry Brown (D) signs the bill in the coming weeks, California will power the powerhouse in a growing group of states in disagreement with the Federal Communications Commission in a clash that could end before the Supreme Court. The topic of intense lobbying by the broadband industry would prevent ISPs from blocking, slowing down, or favoring certain websites. It would prevent providers from charging new fees for apps and websites to reach internet users. And it would make it illegal for airlines to exclude apps from consumers' monthly data caps if it could harm competing start-ups and small businesses in an "abusive" way.
The bill seeks to make California the pioneer of an expansion of state backlash against the FCC, which did not respond to a request for comment. On Friday, the State Senate has collected enough votes to pass the legislation. The US government approved a version on Thursday.
"That would have a big impact on the US, because California is so central to everything Internet and the eighth largest economy in the world," said Carl Tobias, law professor at the University of Richmond. A lawsuit aimed at the bill could eventually find its way to the Supreme Court, Tobias added. The court is already considering whether an independent net neutrality lawsuit should be heard.
California has also taken over regulatory sovereignty when it passed a far-reaching data protection law in June ̵
20 states accuse the FCC of lifting the Agency's net neutrality decision. Nearly three dozen states have introduced laws to replace the deceased regulations, and three states have already approved them.
California could become the fourth state to endorse net neutrality rules when Brown signs the bill. According to political analysts, he has not taken a public stance, but the bill was passed by both Democrat-dominated chambers of state with big leaps.
"This is a basic consumer protection that protects small and medium-sized businesses and protects activists and unions and everyone else who uses the Internet," said Democratic Senator Scott Wiener, the sponsor of the bill that represents the San Francisco area ,
A patchwork of governmental laws could complicate compliance with regulations for Internet service providers and lead to a legal challenge to focus on the power of the federal government to prevent state laws. In some of its provisions, the California bill goes beyond the national regulations that the FCC has repealed and publicly views the broadband industry's public commitments.
Industry groups have said that a unified law drafted by Congress would be much more effective in ensuring net neutrality protection for Internet users. AT & T, which cracked down on California law through its local lobbyists, has called for a national "Internet Bill of Rights" covering both Internet service providers and online platforms such as Google and Facebook.
"The Internet must be governed by a unified, consistent and coherent national policy framework, not by selective approaches." Governor Brown should veto this legislation, and Congress should intervene and provide consumer protection to solve this problem once and for all ", said a statement from Jonathan Spalter, CEO of USTelecom, an industry trading group.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was a long-time critic of federal net neutrality. Approved by Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2015, provisions prevented providers from blocking or slowing down Internet content, paving the way for new, harsh digital privacy policies.
These restrictions provoked Internet service providers such as Verizon and Comcast They said the rules would cost their businesses unnecessary costs and prevent them from investing in upgrades to their networks. Consumer groups, however, argued that the rules for protecting users are important at a time when Internet service providers are focusing on buying up media companies and setting up Facebook-like companies that are reducing user data for promotional purposes.
After Pai was appointed president by Trump last year to run the FCC, one of his first acts was a plan to roll back the provisions of the Obama era. He joined the broadband industry, adding that the rules of net neutrality exemplify unlawful transgressions by the government.
Pai's critics have made a multi-pronged effort to reverse this move, file a lawsuit in federal court, demand a congressional vote to overrule the FCC and press for state legislation – like California.
The last bill passage came after the state assembly voted on Thursday with 61 to 18 votes for the measure, followed by the Senate with 27 to 12 votes.
Consumer groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a number of smaller technology companies such as Etsy, Reddit and Sonos lined up for the bill. Broadband-backed groups like CALinnovates and the California Seniors Congress argued against it.
Net neutrality is an important political issue, especially for smaller technology companies that are disadvantaged by special commercial partnerships Providers could look for large, established companies such as Google, Facebook and Netflix.
Without strong rules, companies such as Eventbrite and Vimeo say, Internet providers may be showing anticompetitive behavior that harms smaller online businesses and restricts consumer choice.  The battle in California has become so intense that some residents of the country have reported receiving robocalls warning that the legislation could increase their internet bills. In June, the measure appeared to have a sudden snag as a main committee of the Assembly decided to strike down the hardest language – provisions that were re-established two weeks later under pressure from activists. Net neutrality activists cited their legislative victory on Friday as confirmation of their congressional strategy: pressure on endangered federal legislators, who are running for reelection this year to support stronger net neutrality rules at the national level.
"Internet users are still royally angry over the lifting of the FCC," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, a consumer advocacy group. "They are still fit and they will not let their elected officials get away with selling out their constituents by coordinating with major telecommunications companies."