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Calif. Appropriations Panels Clear Internet Bills

California appropriators advanced several telecom and internet bills at livestreamed meetings Thursday. The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted unanimously for AB-1065, which would explicitly authorize wireless broadband providers to get support from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) broadband infrastructure grant…

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and federal funding accounts. But it held back AB-1461, which would have permanently required the California Public Utilities Commission to allocate $1 billion each to urban and rural counties from the CASF federal funding account. Current law requires that split only until June 30. With Republicans voting no, the committee passed AB-41, which aims to tighten digital equity requirements in the state’s video franchise law (see 2304200044). Republicans didn’t vote at all on two other approved bills: AB-296 on 911 public education and AB-414 to establish a digital equity bill of rights for Californians. The committee decided not to advance AB-276, which would have prohibited anyone under 21 from using a mobile device while driving, even hands free. It also held back AB-1276, which would have required a University of California at Davis Health study on 911 call and dispatch data. Meanwhile, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 7-0 for SB-60 to require social media platforms to remove posts on illegal drug sales and SB-74 to prohibit high-risk social media apps that are at least partly owned by an entity or "country of concern." The panel also unanimously supported SB-318 to require the California Department of Social Services to develop and run a grant program for 211 support services, which some counties still lack. The committee voted 5-2 for SB-362, which would transfer a data broker registry to the California Privacy Protection Agency from the state justice department and create a global deletion system. The Senate panel held back SB-754, which would have banned the California Public Utilities Commission from incorporating broadband revenue in calculations for rate regulating small telcos. SB-860, which sought to increase broadband adoption by requiring more state outreach on available subsidies, also failed to advance. All the approved bills may go to the floor.