SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) today introduced SB 1160 to protect California consumers by preventing the arbitrary interruption of telecommunications service.

“Open and available communication networks are the lifeblood of our economy, critical to public safety, and a key element of a free and open society,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “For decades, California law has required a court order to interrupt or shut down traditional telephone service. SB 1160 would extend those protections to the modern telecommunication networks and preempt any local government or agency policy that allows shut down of service without court review.”

In August of 2011, the Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency (BART) shut down mobile services during public protests. Following the shut down, BART’s Board adopted a policy allowing an interruption of telecommunications services under certain circumstances. SB 1160 would protect the public’s access to 911 services and the right to use telecommunication networks for any lawful communications. The bill’s provisions would be technology neutral and would apply to any service used for calling 911, including wireless and Internet-based services.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to open a public proceeding in the near future to identify legal and policy issues related to service interruption. “This bill will facilitate California’s participation in a national discussion on service interruption. It will also ensure that our state laws restrict shut downs that cut off access to call 911 and the public’s ability to connect with family, doctors, jobs and schools,” added Padilla.

Senator Alex Padilla represents more than 900,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.