SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Endorsing a dramatic departure from decades of secrecy surrounding policing in the state, California lawmakers have moved to undo some of the nation’s strictest rules keeping law enforcement records confidential, particularly involving officer killings of civilians.
Legislators approved two landmark measures late Friday, one that would give the public access to internal investigations of police shootings statewide, and another that would allow the release of body camera footage of those incidents.
Supporters of the legislation, which must be signed by the governor to become law, said it would boost confidence in law enforcement at a time when multiple disputed police incidents have led to protests in California and nationwide.
Gov. Jerry Brown has not taken a position on either measure. Brown signed the bill implementing the state’s strict police confidentiality rules in 1978, when he was in his first term.
California lawmakers rallied enough votes Friday to pass the nation’s toughest net neutrality law to prevent Internet providers from favoring certain websites, setting up a fight with federal regulators who voted last year to erase such rules.
If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signs the law in the coming weeks, California will become the powerhouse in a growing group of states at odds with the Federal Communications Commission in a clash that could end up before the Supreme Court.
The legislation, which was the subject of intense lobbying by the broadband industry, would prevent Internet providers from blocking, slowing or favoring certain websites. It would bar providers from collecting new fees from apps and sites as a condition of reaching Internet users. And it would make it illegal for carriers to exempt apps from consumers’ monthly data caps if doing so could harm competing start-ups and small businesses in “abusive” ways.