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Governor Signs Broadband, Cybersecurity Bills by Deadline

With a signature, Gov. Gavin Newsom has approved several notable pieces of proposed technology legislation.

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The legislative session officially ended Sunday, which was the last day for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto proposed laws sent to his desk by elected representatives.

And as expected, Newsom signed several significant pieces of technology and innovation-related legislation. This year’s crop of new laws is intended to hone existing cybersecurity and data legislation and smooth the way for getting more and better broadband out to residents. Among the takeaways:

  • Newsom signed state Senate Bill 4, from state Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, the Broadband for All Act; and Assembly Bill 14, from Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, the Internet for All Act. The bills were designed to be contingently enacted. SB 4 requires the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to work with state, local and national entities to find “ways to facilitate streamlining of local land use approvals and construction permit processes” for broadband infrastructure deployment and projects around connectivity. It also sets a goal for the California Advanced Services Fund’s (CASF) Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account of approving funding for infrastructure projects that “provide broadband access to no less than 98 percent of California households” by Dec. 31, 2032. This extends the current deadline by six years; the bill takes effect immediately. AB 14 extends a CASF funding mechanism by a decade to 2032 and authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to impose a surcharge aimed at collecting $330,000 for CASF through Dec. 31, 2032. It also empowers the CPUC to require Internet service providers to report on “free, low-cost, income-qualified, or affordable Internet service” plans they advertise. This bill also takes effect immediately.
  • AB 537, from Assemblymember Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, standardizes a “collocation or siting application” for “certain wireless communications facilities” to Federal Communications Commission rules and requires a city or county “not prohibit or unreasonably discriminate” for or against “any particular wireless technology” — ensuring, the Little Hoover Commission said recently, that local jurisdictions approve telecom projects in “reasonable” time frames and via “permitting best practices.”
  • SB 378, also from Gonzalez, requires all cities to allow, generally, “microtrenching for the installation of underground fiber if the installation in the microtrench is limited to fiber.” The bill also pertains as needed to “a local agency with jurisdiction to approve excavations.” This, the commission said, would lower broadband installation costs and speed deployment.
  • AB 1352, from Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, extends the reach of existing law on independent security assessments – but also further empowers the locals. It authorizes the California Military Department to do an independent security assessment of a local educational agency or even a school site “at the request of a local educational agency, and in consultation with the California Cybersecurity Integration Center,” with the assessment cost to be paid by the local entity.
  • AB 825, from Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, fine-tunes the Information Practices Act of 1977, which already required agencies that own or license “computerized data” to disclose system security breaches to residents if their personal information was compromised. The bill specifies that personal information in these situations includes genetic data – and defines it as “any data, regardless of its format, that results from the analysis of a biological sample of an individual, or other source, and concerns genetic material, as specified.”
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.