Senate State Agencies
Jan. 19, 2023
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- HCR 1002 Resolution on Ridge Alkonis
- SB 4 Banning TikTok from state and local government use (failed)
Sen B Johnson: Chair sees a quorum of the State Agencies committee. Come to order. Without objection, we’re going to begin with the House Concurrent Resolutions and House Concurrent Resolution 1005. Senator Stubblefield. In your packets. It’s proclaiming Religious Freedom Day.
Sen Stubblefield: This is just a resolution that Representative Bentley and I drew up celebrating Religious Freedom Day in this country.
Sen B Johnson: Are there any other questions from the members? Motion by Senator Dotson, second by Senator Crowell. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. All opposed, like sign. Thank you, Senator.
Sen Stubblefield: Thank you, committee.
Sen B Johnson: See you back in a couple of minutes.
Sen Stubblefield: Okay.
HCR 1002 Resolution on Ridge Alkonis
Sen B Johnson: Next is House Concurrent Resolution 1002. Senator Hill. Representative Eubanks. If you want to come down. You’re welcome to proceed.
Sen Hill: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m going to say just a few words on this. I think the title kind of explains itself and I asked Representative Eubanks to come down here with us simply because Ridge Alkonis’s family is watching this live stream today. So we want them to know that we are definitely thinking about them, praying for them and their family as they’re going through these undue consequences that they’re facing. I’m going to read the resolution itself right here, just the first part of it, “To encourage the United States Congress and the National Security Council to formally review the status of the forces of agreement between the United States and Japan and to officially investigate the circumstances surrounding the investigation and trial of Navy Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis to ensure that American service members are being properly treated and adequately protected while serving in Japan.” This actually has real dire consequences for Representative Eubanks and myself since our two kids actually serve in Japan right now for the United– his is with the Marines and mine is with the Navy. And I’m going to let Representative Eubanks go through some details on this case. And he was not expecting this.
Sen B Johnson: You’re recognized.
Rep Eubanks: Oh, well, I don’t know how much time or details you really want to get into. But Lieutenant Alkonis graduated from the Naval Academy with my son, Andrew. Ridge went Navy Surface Warfare. My son went Marines Aviation. Lieutenant Alkonis was stationed in Japan. I can’t remember which ship he was assigned to, but his wife and three kids were living in Japan with him. On May 29th, 2021, the family went up on Mount Fuji for an outing, and when he came down, he blacked out. He was mid-sentence, talking to his daughter. There was an ensuing accident and two Japanese nationals died from their injuries. He was arrested. He was held in solitary confinement for 26 days. He was denied medical treatment. He was denied legal counsel. Finally, bail was attained. He was tried and convicted of negligence. After he was finally released on bail, a Navy doctor examined him and determined that the change in altitude from coming off of Mount Fuji caused a medical episode that caused him to black out and cause the accident. And so since, it’s been almost a year and a half– it’ll be two years before long that been dealing with this. It’s customary in Japan that a settlement is made to the family of the victims, and one was made. It’s been reported to be the largest or one of the largest ever recorded over there, and it was for $1.6 million. The family made half of that, the insurance made half of that. He appealed his conviction. The court upheld the conviction and he started serving a three-year sentence last summer in August or so.
Rep Eubanks: Add insult to injury, the Navy was going to terminate pay and benefits to the family as of December 31st. Now, there’s been a lot of support in Congress for this. Senator Mike Lee from Utah wrote a letter to the Japanese prime minister. 19 other senators signed on, including Senators Boozman and Cotton. Ridge is from California. His congressman Mike Levin wrote a letter to the president asking him to intervene. 30 plus congressmen signed on to that, including our four congressmen, which I’m very proud that they have been engaged and been supportive on this. Senator Mike Lee filed an amendment to the year-end bill to require the Navy to continue paying benefits. That was passed 100% by the Senate and concurred by the House. So right now, at least paying benefits are continuing, but Ridge is still in jail. And we continue to try to get support from Congress. They are putting pressure on DOD. Early on Department of Defense officials acknowledged that there was SOFA violations, and for whatever reason now they’re telling Congress there weren’t. So I don’t know what– I know we have an important alliance with Japan, but I think we need to show our service men and women that we support them. And it’s a really unfortunate accident. It wasn’t a crime. I recognize that two people died, and those families have to deal with that loss. But I can’t see a crime that was committed in my eyes. Sometimes you have to balance justice and mercy, and so I would hope that Japan would go ahead and at least transfer him to the United States, so. Happy to take any questions.
Sen B Johnson: Senator Payton.
Sen Payton: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So this resolution calls on the United States Congress to investigate?
Rep Eubanks: Yes, sir.
Sen Payton: Have they not investigated this matter? It sounds like they had 100% support for–
Rep Eubanks: They had not investigated, I guess, the particulars of the case and how it transpired, what counsel Lieutenant Alkonis was given. He was following the recommendations that he received. They need to know if there were SOFA violations–
Sen Payton: So if I can ask a follow-up–
Rep Eubanks: –status of forces agreement.
Sen Payton: So in your opinion, this resolution would maybe give them a little more influence in trying to negotiate with Japan, or?
Rep Eubanks: I’m trying to do anything that would spur Congress to act and put pressure on the Department of Defense.
Sen Payton: Thank you. We’d like to help them any way we can.
Sen B Johnson: Any other questions? Seeing none, do you want to–?
Sen Hill: I’d like to make one comment. You may look at this and say, “What does this have to do with Arkansas?” Well, I will tell you all that Representative Eubanks’ son Andrew and Ridge were best friends at the naval academy.
Sen B Johnson: What’s the will of the committee?
Sen Tucker: Motion do pass.
Sen B Johnson: Motion by Senator Tucker, second by Senator Dotson. All in favor, say aye. All opposed, like sign. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it. Is there anybody that signed up? Okay. Senator Stubblefield, if you would come up and present Senate Bill 4. Go ahead, Senator.
SB 4 Banning TikTok use by state and local governments
Sen Stubblefield: Thank you, Committee. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Before we begin, let me just say a few words. We have a– and I was unaware of this. The Department of Human Services uses a phone that has the app TikTok on it in some of their child foster care cases. And we have agreed to an amendment. We will amend this bill in the House when General Berry gets it. And then we’ll send it back down here and have that concurrent with the Senate bill. So we will amend the bill in the House. I give you my word on that. And that deals with DHS, Mark White. We’re getting the amendment together. I had no idea that they used the TikTok app to help them in some of their child welfare cases. So we agreed to add that on. Other than that– and I’ve studied this for almost three years– three years ago, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Washington, DC, and he warned a group of governors, including our own governor– Governor Asa Hutchinson was there– about an app that the Chinese had that was owned by ByteDance software company. They’re in Beijing. And he warned them about the dangers, not only the national security dangers that he warned them of, with its spyware and its facial recognition and location services, and all those different aspects of TikTok, but he also warned parents about– and I was really shocked because I listened to the entire speech. He warned parents about downloading this app and the dangers that this app proposed for young kids, especially young girls, and the consequences of that. He not only warned them about the security aspects with the spyware, the facial recognition, and the location capability, he also warned parents about the algorithms that would collect and manipulate data that TikTok was sending back to Beijing.
Sen Stubblefield: And the difference in these algorithms was that they would send a certain algorithm to our kids here in the United States and that same algorithm would send a totally different one to China. Here, they would send one that would maybe have a lot of nudity, sexual connotations in it, a different thing that would harm our kids, especially young girls, because there’s been a couple of studies done on this. In fact, while we’re sitting here meeting today, Congress is getting ready to have a committee just on this very subject about how TikTok is affecting our youth. But the same algorithms that was used to do that would go back to China. And they would show a Chinese child sitting in a musical room playing a violin or in a library, and it was just very confusing. Nothing negative was ever said about China, but the United States was just the opposite. And it was having a very negative effect and immeasurable effect on our kids. This app suppresses positive issues, pushes many harmful ones, including many that are sexual in nature. And these are the types of agendas that they’re pushing on your kids and my kids and your grandchildren and my grandchildren.
Sen Stubblefield: What this all means is that the American people are interacting every day with real threats to our own privacy. There’s no credible public approach to data privacy in America today. There’s no question that this app poses a risk to the American personal data information and that it has deep ties to China. Because ByteDance, who owns the app, is located in Beijing, and of course, their data and their security laws are quite different than those of the United States. Whenever Beijing requests data from one of these social media sites, they don’t have a choice whether to turn it over to the communist Chinese government. They turn it over or else. Those are different than the United States. Our own president, President Biden, signed legislation to ban TikTok from all government phones in the United States, along with all of our military, along with the securities and exchange commission, along with 20 states, Wells Fargo, many of our banks. And now a number of other groups are banning TikTok. They’re realizing the dangers of this app, and so they are banning it. For many years, China’s had a choke hold on our pharmaceuticals, including our antibiotics, which is just incomprehensible to me how that we have to rely on another country for our own drugs. At a time in our history when we should be strengthening our cybersecurity, it seems like we’re weakening it.
Sen Stubblefield: I remember very well, I talked to my dad about it many times, whenever the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor– I read the story of it and John Elliott was the head of the radar that morning on December 7th, 1941, and he noticed a large blip on that radar screen. And when he called his superior officer, his superior officer said, “Well, that’s just a Squadron of B-17s flying in from San Francisco.” Well, needless to say, it was a 183 Japanese fighter aircraft. We had over 200 on the ground. Had he acted with those 22 minutes– had he acted, we could have saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. So this is a time that we need to be especially strong in protecting our cybersecurity information. So finally, let me just say one more thing. This technology also does body shaming– I didn’t even know what body shaming was– among our young girls. And when Harvard did a study among young girls, they found that there was a huge amount of depression. Suicidal rates among young girls who were on TikTok, 7, 8, 10 times a day– and it was affecting them. It suppresses positive issues and pushes harmful– and like I said, many in sexual nature– on our children. I just think it’s time that we step up with the other states and ban this social app. This is doing no good in our country. And the mere fact that we’re doing business with a Chinese communist government that does not have our best interest at heart, that alone tells me that we should delete this app from our phones. Just from our government phones, not private phones. So with that said, I would appreciate a good vote. And I’ll answer any questions.
Sen Tucker: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Senator, I have a question about the very last word in the bill. The last subsection reads, “Upon conviction, a person that downloads or uses a TikTok application or visits the TikTok website is guilty of a violation.” What does that mean?
Sen Stubblefield: Well, we talked about that Senator Tucker and–
Sen B Johnson: Senator, turn your microphone on.
Sen Stubblefield: There was no specific monetary amount assigned to that. A person could lose their job if they download this app and go against their superiors, or we can still have our IT people take this app completely off the government phones or any government devices that they have. So we have a couple of options there.
Sen Tucker: So you’re just really leaving it to the particular agency where the employee works or just–?
Sen Stubblefield: Well, yeah. It’ll be up to the agency to monitor those phones. If those phones show that they’ve downloaded the TikTok app, they could lose their job.
Sen Tucker: Okay. My next question is what this law accomplishes that Governor Sanders’s executive order does not accomplish, or does this do something different?
Sen Stubblefield: This simply puts it in code, in statute.
Sen Tucker: Okay. So my last question really is– I understand your commitment to have the bill amended in the House. I would suggest that when you get the bill amended, I would prefer to have a little clarity around that word violation and what that means. But really, the bigger point is this is literally the first bill that’s not a resolution that we’re voting on this legislative session. I mean, it’s January 19th. If it were March, I could understand a little more about getting it amended in the House. Given where we are in the session, I just think it reflects better on the Senate for us to get our bills in the shape they ought to be in, especially this early in the session before we send them down to the House.
Sen Tucker: It would be my preference to go ahead and get it amended before we vote it out of the Senate. Obviously, I may be outvoted on that. And I recognize the security risks that you’re talking about, especially for state government funds. I got no concern about that. I think this bill will pass, and I’ll vote for it on the floor.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, this was sprang on us really at the last minute. And when I went over it with DHS, I saw their concerns and they’re valid concerns. So General Berry and I both agreed to it. And the bill will be amended. It will be amended in the House and sent back down here, but the fact is that we don’t need to wait any longer on this. There will be more and more states that delete this app from their phones. And in fact, it should have been deleted three years ago. When I first started reading about it, and the dangers it posed to our society, this app should have been deleted three years ago. So we’ve waited long enough. But I give you my word, unless God takes me home. And General Berry still knows about this. I don’t think he’ll take us both at home at the same time. Hopefully not.
Sen Tucker: Y’all just don’t ride in the same car.
Sen Stubblefield: That bill will be amended to add the part that DHS requests in their child investigation purposes.
Sen Tucker: All right, thanks, Senator.
Sen Stubblefield: You’re welcome.
Sen Dotson: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Senator Tucker hit on two of the three areas that I was going to kind of ask about. But have you consulted with the Attorney General’s office at all on whether or not this naming a specific company entity in statute will hold up constitutionally or–I mean, I understand what you’re trying to do, and I’m in agreement with it, I’m just a little bit hesitant to name a specific company. And not just the concept. Your mic is not on there.
Sen Stubblefield: I have spoken with the AG’s office and in fact, the AG informed that he would like to make this part of his political package, the TikTok, so we haven’t read–
Sen Dotson: It saw no red flags with naming a company in statute?
Sen Stubblefield: Pardon me.
Sen Dotson: The AG’s office didn’t see any red flags with naming an actual company in statute?
Sen Stubblefield: No, I just spoke to him yesterday.
Sen Dotson: Okay. And then I just kind of speaking to the urgency that you said, I agree there’s urgency, but with Governor Sander’s executive order, I think the urgency has kind of been taken off the table. Wouldn’t it be better to kind of get this right before we send it out of here, and send it to the House, and then it doesn’t even have to come back? It’s going to have to come back through the committee anyway.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, its a very short process coming back to the House and concurring with the amendment. So I don’t see a problem with it. And not only that, there’s a– let me bring this up, I received another call late last night about the police department, and they use another app and along the same lines as DHS and the foster care investigations. So we were going to talk to them just to see. So I’m not saying there is, but there possibly could be another. It’ll be along the same lines as that amendment. And that will be a short amendment. In fact, I’ve got a copy of the amendment that DHS handed me this morning.
Sen Dotson: And so just to, I guess, to add on to the violation part, when you’re making your amendment, if you can kind of give some guidance and direction on what the penalty is for a violation, that might make it more clear for all agencies, police departments, and everyone throughout the state to know exactly what the violation you’re– what the consequences of violating it would be. And then finally, since there is urgency in your opinion, why isn’t there an emergency clause on here?
Sen Stubblefield: When we had this bill drafted, and I looked at it, I thought the same thing, why wasn’t that their emergency clause put over the bill? We could do that very quickly when we amend the bill.
Sen Dotson: Okay. Thank you.
Sen Stubblefield: So that’s no problem.
Sen B Johnson: Senator Flowers.
Sen Flowers: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think Senator Dotson pretty much addressed my concern about the word ‘violation.’ It is in the Arkansas code; it’s something less than a misdemeanor and often associated with some maybe– not jaywalking, but some violation having to do with, I’m not sure if it’s a moving violation or not, some of them are misdemeanors, but it’s lower than a Class C. And I don’t know if a penalty is prescribed in our statutes as well. You might look at that because violation is an offense. It’s a classification. So I would say, look at that. But as you say, you make a good argument why it shouldn’t be used by the state employees on those devices, but why is it just a violation? Why wouldn’t it be something more substantial in terms of a penalty? And the other thing I would like to hear you talk about would be, you say DHS is gonna– wants to add on a prohibition for using it in investigative. A lot of times prosecutors use Facebook and other apps to investigate criminal offenses, so I don’t know, I would think that you would want to explore if that might be something that ties the hands of law enforcement. And even with DHS and their investigations of children, it’s something to be considered. I don’t know if Mark White has thought about that or not, but a lot of times, those apps are quite useful.
Sen Stubblefield: It will only be on government-issued devices. And they’re at the mercy of their agency head. If they want to risk losing their jobs by going against agency policy, that could happen. And I don’t think anyone would risk losing their jobs because they failed to comply with the agency policies.
Sen Flowers: I just think that might be–
Sen Stubblefield: Because this is not private users who have TikTok apps on their phone.
Sen Flowers: I understand that, but I’m saying that the government and law enforcement and even DHS may find it a useful tool for their work with children. And I would think you’d want to weigh that balance, at least to the extent that you can say if it helps to keep children from being victimized or locating children, that might be an exception that DHS might want to consider.
Sen Stubblefield: And that’s part of the amendment that we plan on adding. And which will be– once it gets to the House and passes the House, that amendment will be added down there. And it’ll be a short process once it gets back here if we approve this bill today.
Sen B Johnson: Senator, I don’t think this covers local police force.
Sen Stubblefield: No.
Sen B Johnson: If anything, it would be DHS and the State Police if they have an investigation. That may be something that you would like to check out too.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, we’re going to sitting down with the state police between now and Monday, but we have discussed this with DHS when we realized how they use this app in their child care.
Sen B Johnson: Would it cover prosecutors? Okay. And prosecutors would probably be a good one too.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, the prosecutors have not approached us with anything where this app would be a–
Sen B Johnson: Senator King.
Sen King: Let me first off say I don’t use TikTok. I have the same concerns you do. And being an American farmer, I certainly understand the foreign influence of everything going on, but. So you’re outlining TikTok in this bill. And you’re saying you want to amend it on the other side, which this early I don’t think is a good policy to do. I mean, we have plenty of time to get that done. I mean, that has to be done sometimes, but not in this case. But so you’re outlining TikTok in this bill. Let’s say, I mean, it’s a publicly traded company, right? I mean, TikTok?
Sen Stubblefield: Pardon me?
Sen King: Isn’t it a publicly traded company or ownership and all that?
Sen Stubblefield: Yeah.
Sen King: So let’s say you pass this bill, which I mean, the governor has already done what she’s done, which I support. So let’s say you pass this bill, and then you can’t use TikTok for two more years. Let’s say, three months out of the session, let’s say TikTok or whoever just changes the name of their company, does that mean it’s no longer void?
Sen Stubblefield: No, I think we’ll be able to follow that. And I don’t think–
Sen King: But you say TikTok in the bill. If TikTok changes to, I don’t know, whatever, social media platform or whatever they do, then does this bill no longer hit that target?
Sen Stubblefield: I don’t know. I don’t know. If they changed their name– if they changed their name, I think we’ll be able to track that. Surely with the technology we have today, we’ll be able to track if TikTok– as big as they are with a billion users, I think we’ll be able to follow them.
Sen King: But I agree with you on everything like that, but you’re saying TikTok in the bill. I mean, so if TikTok changes, whatever the parent company, like Google’s Alphabet or whatever. But the other thing is too, let’s say, for example, TikTok gets into trouble or they do something in Congress or something, and then they want to sell to another bunch of investors, and these investors are true blood Americans and wants to change the direction, then we’re outlining for two years, if that happens, that they can’t be on that side, which I would agree with. So what I’m saying is, if you put this in the law and you do it for two years, it’s stuck. And you can’t change it for two more years. So the way companies are today, they change names. I mean, I’ve seen companies literally be the same company and change the name and still do business like they’re doing. I mean, I’m just concerned that– and like I said, I totally agree with you. I am not on TikTok. I have the same concerns about that. I lecture my niece about it and her dad has done the same thing. And so I just think that whenever you put this in this bill and the governor has already done what she does, then what if TikTok sells to a company of good American people and want to do the right thing, then you’ve hampered them for two years until we have to come back and change it.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, personally, I just don’t think doing business– and I understand what you’re saying about changing the name. And if Microsoft or some other company were to buy TikTok, they would fall under the US regulations and there would have to be some changes. Personally, I don’t think we should be doing business with a Chinese communist government that has a terrible record on human rights abuses and other things. They don’t have the best interest of the American people at heart.
Sen King: You’ve been here for–
Sen Stubblefield: And no, frankly, we ought to be doing any business.
Sen King: You aware of all the Chinese businesses and the people they hire up here to do state business?
Sen Stubblefield: A lot of that’s political and hopefully we can get some of that back, especially when it comes to our pharmaceuticals and other things that we use and need here and they know that.
Sen King: But I mean, I think clearly the Chinese have been up here for years doing all kinds of stuff. I mean, so.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, it wasn’t long, Senator King, after Secretary of State Pompeo issued the warning that we had an issue at the University of Arkansas. So this is not a catch-all– it’s not going to solve every problem, but it certainly will help.
Sen King: And I agree with all that, but you’re just putting it in code for two years and things can change with these companies. They can be bought and sold and maybe bought by good people that we like, and all of a sudden we have it in code for two years, and it’s locked in whatever TikTok name they use. I guess I’m just supportive of giving the freedom for the governor to do what she thinks is best and how it changes. I just don’t know that I really want to put it in code that TikTok for two years can not do business because tomorrow it could sell. I mean, there are so many things that can change in–
Sen Stubblefield: Well, our military has deleted the app from all military service branches. Our securities exchange commission, most banks have deleted it from their–
Sen King: I just want to give the flexibility to the governor to be able to change it back and have TikTok changed. I support the governor’s decision on it. I personally don’t do it. I just think it’s putting too much into code to make it too strict for two years until you can come back and change it again if something changes, so.
Sen B Johnson: Senator Payton.
Sen Payton: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So my concerns are similar to that of Senator King. I don’t use the app. I hadn’t experienced it, but I trust the information and the people that you’ve cited that have banned it and said, we’re not going to use it. I mean, I totally trust that. But when I look at the bill, which would become Arkansas code, it defines TikTok as a social media platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. So they could sell it to a different Chinese company, and they wouldn’t even have to change the name, and it would no longer be covered by this law. So, I mean, if you know I run a business and I have employees out in the shop working on cars or whatever, and there’s a bad product, and I go out there and tell them, don’t use that product, I don’t write it in the employee manual; I just told them not to use that product. And so the governor in her executive order basically told state employees don’t use this product. I’m fine with legislating it and putting it in code. But if we do, if we’re going to go that route, we need a definition that will hold water. And this definition in this bill, if ByteDance sells TikTok to another company, then it would no longer be covered under this bill. Because I mean, it specifically says, “A social media platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.” And then he goes on to say, “That has the ability.” It doesn’t matter what the abilities are. If it’s a social media platform owned by some company worldwide other than ByteDance, it’s not covered by this language, so [crosstalk]–
Sen Stubblefield: If the Chinese government can suggest that they send that data over, they have to send it over, where they don’t here. There’s a requirement that–
Sen Payton: That’s kind of my point. It could be just as poison and just as dangerous if it was owned by a different Chinese company, or even a different US company, but it would not be covered by this bill. We need a better definition in this bill of what we’re trying to ban, in my opinion. Thank you, though. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Sen B Johnson: Senator Flowers.
Sen Flowers: One day I was looking on Facebook, and on someone’s page on Facebook, they had posted TikTok, I don’t know what you call them, little scenarios, or little– whatever they are. Some performances or whatever. Would that be the same as visiting TikTok website that you–? If you use those words–
Sen Stubblefield: If you download–
Sen Flowers: –on line 10 on page three. So “Uses the TikTok application.” That wouldn’t necessarily apply, I don’t think. But do you consider it visiting the TikTok website if it’s on some other social media application, some posts from TikTok, is that the same thing?
Sen Stubblefield: By visiting the TikTok app?
Sen Flowers: No. It says, “Or visit the TikTok. Uses, downloads, or uses,” you say, on line nine, “the TikTok application.” I’m not sure if that wouldn’t be using it there. But, “Or visits, the TikTok website.” So if something is on another website that a government employee has and it’s not prohibited by law, but it has a TikTok message or– I mean, these things were like performances or something, so is that the same thing? Are you trying to prohibit that as well?
Sen Stubblefield: I don’t know another app that’s like TikTok that has the same algorithms that TikTok have, not Facebook, not Twitter.
Sen Flowers: No, but there were posts from TikTok on Facebook pages. And so what I’m asking is, would that be prohibited under your bill? Is that the same thing? I mean–
Sen Stubblefield: Well, you wouldn’t be–
Sen Flowers: –you scroll down this person’s page, and somebody’s posted a lot of TikTok posts. So is that against– would that be against the law as well under your bill?
Sen Stubblefield: Well, I’m not sure that– I’m not sure that there’s TikTok posts on these other social media sites.
Sen Flowers: I just told you there is. I saw it on Facebook.
Sen Stubblefield: And they’re identical?
Sen Flowers: I went to my Facebook page and somebody, who obviously is a friend of mine, had posts from TikTok. I didn’t go to TikTok. I don’t have TikTok on my phone or computer. But it was on Facebook. So things can be shared. Do you agree with that, right? From application to–
Sen Stubblefield: I agree that we have laws in this country that they do not have in China regarding social media sites and the collection of data. We have certainly different laws in the United States that are different than Beijing or the Chinese government when it comes to data collection.
Sen Flowers: I don’t know that–
Sen Stubblefield: That’s a fact.
Sen Flowers: I have stated clearly my question. But I’m simply trying to understand if a TikTok post has been shared on another social media application that is lawful, would a person be guilty if they look at that? Because some of these things, when you scroll down, they just start running. You can push something, I guess, and get the full thing, but what I saw was something that just continuously ran. And it was from TikTok. It said TikTok across the top. So that’s something that needs to be looked at, I think, to make your bill do what you want it to do.
Sen Stubblefield: Well, I feel like our US military and our largest banking institutions and 20 other states have looked at that, or they wouldn’t have deleted this app from their phones from the government devices, not the private devices. This has been going on for three years. It’s not something that just sprang up overnight, Senator Flowers.
Sen B Johnson: Senator, I guess, the app allows you to engage and create a TikTok. I don’t think the mere viewing of it, like Senator Flowers is talking about it, is engaging with TikTok, where you’re creating those TikTok ads or reels or whatever it is. That’s the engagement that I think you’re trying to cover here. Whenever you download that app and you’re able to make those TikToks and publish those TikToks through that app, but once you make those things, you can share them to other venues like Facebook and Instagram. And that is the question that Senator Flowers is asking. If you view that TikTok, is it going to be– is it different or it can be traced on a government technology? Where if you download the app, it’s clearly there.
Sen Stubblefield: I would ask this committee. How many of you have downloaded an app, social media, and read the entire contract? One? That’s what happens if–
Sen B Johnson: I’d have to remember my password to download the app, and that’s always–
Sen Stubblefield: Well, with the majority, Senator, with the majority of children, they never read the entire contract, they hit the accept, and when they do that, they’re automatically on TikTok. They don’t have to. They don’t go through the time it takes to read that entire contract because sometimes it takes 45 minutes. They’re long, and they’re meant to be that way. There’s a reason why they’re long because they know kids are not going to sit for 45 minutes and read a contract that they don’t understand anyway. So listen, this is up to you.
Sen B Johnson: Senator, I mean, we’re afraid we’re fixing to have to go into session. If it’s okay if you want to do some investigation. And we will hear this again. And if you want to make those amendments and things, unless–
Sen Stubblefield: We’re going to make the amendments, but I would like for us to vote on this today. I promise you I will make the amendments. General Berry and I will make those in the House. Send that back down, next week if possible.
Sen B Johnson: Do you want to close on it?
Sen Stubblefield: I’m closed.
Sen B Johnson: All right. What’s the will of the committee? Seeing no action, no action from the committee, then it would fail.
Sen Stubblefield: Okay.
Sen B Johnson: Thank you. No other business to come, we are adjourned.