California Gov. Jerry Brown approved the nation's strongest net neutrality law Sunday, prompting a lawsuit by the Trump administration and opening the next phase in the battle over internet regulation. Net neutrality advocates hope the law—which Brown signed to stop internet providers from favoring certain content or sites, after the FCC repealed Obama-era rules last year preventing companies from doing so—will push Congress to enact national rules or encourage other states to create their own, the AP reports. However, the DOJ quickly moved to halt the law from taking effect, arguing it creates burdensome, anti-consumer requirements that flout the federal government's deregulation approach. "Once again the California Legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
The neutrality law, set to take effect Jan. 1, prohibits internet providers from blocking or slowing data based on content or from favoring websites or video streams from companies that pay extra. It's the latest example of California, ground zero of the global tech industry, trying to drive national public policy and rebuff President Trump's agenda. Brown didn't explain his reasons for signing the bill or comment on the suit Sunday. "This is a historic day for California," says Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener, the law's author. "A free and open internet is a cornerstone of 21st-century life." Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have approved legislation related to net neutrality, but California's measure is seen as the most comprehensive attempt to codify the principle in a way that might survive a court challenge. An identical bill was introduced in New York. (Read more net neutrality stories.)