SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Calif. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) this week introduced SB 380. The bill would prevent the arbitrary interruption of wireless communication services. “For decades, California law has required a court order to interrupt or shut down traditional telephone service. SB 380 would extend these protections to the modern mobile communications network which is critical to public safety and a key element of a free and open society,” said Senator Alex Padilla.
In August of 2011, the Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency (BART) shut down mobile services during public protests. Following the shutdown, BART’s Board adopted a policy allowing an interruption of communications services under certain circumstances but with no court review. BART’s actions also led the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to open a proceeding on wireless service shutdowns. Public comments filed by numerous parties stated that, in nearly every case, a shutdown of wireless service creates more public safety problems than it solves because people in a crisis cannot call 911 or receive emergency alerts, and first responders cannot communicate effectively.
SB 380 is similar to SB 1160 (Padilla) which was vetoed by Governor Brown in 2012. In his veto message, the governor requested a revised bill that would both protect the public’s access to wireless communication services while preserving the ability of law enforcement to interrupt wireless communication in the protections of public health and safety.
“With SB 380, I intend to strike the right balance between public safety and free speech. State laws written in the days of the telegraph and before deployment of our 911 system do not adequately address public safety issues in the 21st century. I look forward to a full and open dialogue with law enforcement about their current policies and practices so we can meet the Governor’s request and send him an improved bill on wireless communication’s service interruption,” added Padilla.
Senator Alex Padilla, 39, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and is President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 1,100,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District in Los Angeles. .
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