NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – A bill that would ban the use of the social media platform TikTok while using internet access provided by public universities and colleges in Tennessee has cleared a major hurdle.
On Thursday, state senators passed Senate Bill 834. The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), was amended Thursday prior to being voted upon.
The amended version of the bill states that a “public postsecondary institution that provides internet access to students, faculty, staff, or the general public” is prohibited from allowing people to use a social media platform if it is “operated or hosted by a company based in the People’s Republic of China.”
When it was introduced, the bill would have banned the campus use of any platform with an owner based outside of the U.S.
The bill states a platform fitting the description, such as TikTok, may be accessed if needed for law enforcement, legal, investigative or public safety activities. The bill also does not ban the use of applicable platforms, just the use of the institution’s network while doing so.
Senate Bill 834 passed as amended 28-1.
A companion bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby), has been assigned to the House Higher Education Subcommittee and is expected to be discussed March 6.
In order to become law, the bill would have to clear the House and then be signed by Gov. Bill Lee.