California's Net Neutrality law is signed in, US Department of Justice immediately sues
After a month long wait since the state legislature of California gave its approval for SB822, otherwise known as the golden standard Net Neutrality Law, Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law making it the most important state level Net Neutrality law in the country by population as well as severity for ISPs. However, just hours after its signing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the US Department of Justice announced they would be suing California for enacting this law, which they have deemed to be illegal. While the FCC has stripped themselves of the power to regulate the internet, the federal government argues that this power will not be delegated to the states and that no body can regulate the internet other than the federal government.
Although California is not the first state to pass Net Neutrality laws (Oregon and Washington were among the first states to do so), California is one of the largest states in the country, and it even has one of the largest economies globally. Proponents of Net Neutrality have supported SB822 in particular because there is belief that ISPs might change their polices nationwide instead of dealing with several different Net Neutrality regulations in each state, thus making the FCC's abolishment of federal Net Neutrality rules irrelevant.
The FCC has been in a rough spot recently; the decision to repeal Net Neutrality was extremely controversial and it has spawned several lawsuits, such as the suit the New York Times is pursuing over the Freedom of Information Act. Over a dozen states have proposed legislation for Net Neutrality and a handful of these proposals have already been signed into law. Whether or not the Department of Justice will pursue other states is unknown at this time.
The FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had this to say on the matter:
“Not only is California’s Internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers. The law prohibits many free-data plans, which allow consumers to stream video, music, and the like exempt from any data limits. They have proven enormously popular in the marketplace, especially among lower-income Americans. But notwithstanding the consumer benefits, this state law bans them.”