Press Releases

Assemblymember Santiago teeters toward becoming “California’s Chairman Pai” after threatening critical CA net neutrality bill

Yesterday, Minority Leader Pelosi took the extraordinary step of encouraging California Assemblymember Miguel Santiago to support a strong net neutrality measure; meanwhile, Santiago appears to be buckling to ISP pressure to weaken the bill, which recently passed the California State Senate

June 19, 2018
Contact: Mark Stanley, 202.681.7582, [email protected]

Today, rumors abound that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is about to undermine meaningful and necessary net neutrality safeguards for Californians. As Chair of the Communications and Conveyance Committee, Santiago has tremendous control over what happens to SB 822, which would establish the strongest net neutrality protections in the country. SB 822 has already passed the California Senate. Demand Progress has driven over 1,000 targeted calls from constituents to their lawmakers in California in support of the measure.

Based on yesterday’s unprecedented letter from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Santiago urging his support for SB 822 as well as heretofore unreported information, Santiago is currently acting at odds with net neutrality and the interests of Californians and instead siding with powerful, donor-class ISPs like AT&T. Among the as-of-yet unreported information are rumors that Santiago intends to reject an agreement between competing bill sponsors, artificially creating cracks through which he can weaken SB 822. Santiago will likely either vote against SB 822 in total or try to strip out SB 822’s ban on ‘access fees,’ which allow ISPs to charge websites to reach ISPs’ subscribers, as well as the bill’s ban on net neutrality violations at the points where data enters an ISP’s network, i.e., interconnection points.

“Assemblymember Santiago must put an end to rumors that he is acting on behalf of AT&T and other giant ISPs by attempting to sink the strongest net neutrality protections to be considered by a state, or he will quickly become known as California’s Chairman Pai,” said Demand Progress Director of Communications Mark Stanley.

Last week, 48 California and national progressive groups, including Demand Progress, urged Santiago in a letter to support SB 822 over competing legislation, and we will continue to watch as the fate of net neutrality in California develops.

Grassroots activists in California will mobilize today, contacting Santiago’s office urging him to reject AT&T and other ISPs’ efforts, and to instead support the measures contained in SB 822 in order to ensure an open internet for all Californians.