California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the the country's strongest net neutrality bill protections, a move that will be met by a legal challenge from the Trump administration.
The Justice Department announced on Sunday that it filed a lawsuit against the law, arguing that only the federal government can dictate such a sweeping framework for how ISPs like Comcast and AT&T provide internet service.
"Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce -- the federal government does," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy. The Justice Department should not have to spend valuable time and resources to file this suit today, but we have a duty to defend the prerogatives of the federal government and protect our Constitutional order."
The Washington Post first reported that the Justice Department was preparing to file a lawsuit.
The California law prohibits internet providers in the state from blocking or throttling traffic, or from selling speedier access to consumers.
The law was passed in response to the Republican-led FCC's move in December to repeal most of their net neutrality rules, on the rationale that the regulations were stifling investment. That action led to a backlash in a number of states, which have sought to pass their own rules of the road for internet service.
California's new law, however, goes farther than even the old FCC rules did in placing restrictions on internet service providers. It prohibits ISPs from charging access fees to websites to connect to their customers, and it bans certain types of "zero rating" offerings. The latter are practices in which companies like AT&T and Verizon offer plans that do not count affiliated content against data caps.
In rolling back net neutrality in December, the FCC also prohibited states from passing their own rules, as it would create a patchwork of laws throughout the country. California was also the largest state to impose their own net neutrality regulations.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who authored the legislation, said that this was "a historic day in California. A free and open internet is the cornerstone of 21st century life: our democracy, our economy, our healthcare and public safety systems, and day-to-day activities. While the Trump Administration does everything in its power to undermine our democracy, we in California will continue to do what's right for our residents."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is challenging the FCC's repeal in court along with other states, said in a statement, "Here in California - a state that is home to countless start-ups and technology giants alike - we know that a handful of powerful companies should not dictate the sources for the information we seek or the speed at which our websites load. We remain committed to ensuring that our internet can continue to represent freedom and opportunity, innovation and fairness."
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