Texas TikTok ban remains limited to government-issued devices

TikTok is a widely popular social media app. Its ties to the Chinese government resulted in an executive order, earlier this year, by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The action prohibits the social media app, and others like it, from being downloaded onto any state computer or smartphone. HB 3289, and a Senate companion, would make that order permanent.

The legislation was in a House and Senate Conference Committee to address differences in what each Chamber passed. State representative Charles "Doc" Anderson (R) Waco filed HB 3289.

"What this bill does, is codifies what the governor was very prudent in doing, in trying to protect cybersecurity from cybersecurity and informational problems with that. You see so much nowadays with some of these devices on personal and on government," said Anderson.

To get around the limited ban by Texas, and similar orders in other states, there are reports that TikTok could sell all, or parts, of the platform to an American company.

"Changes the discussion. I still think in this day and age, with the way things have matriculated, that we need to be careful of all the different programs that are out there. And so we still have to be very wary even in that circumstance," said Anderson.

In Montana, legislation was signed this week expanding a limited TikTok ban on state devices to everyone in the state. The Montana law is already facing a legal challenge. A lawsuit was filed by five people who use the app to post original content. They claim the law violates free speech.

"It's not what the app does. It's where the personal data goes. This is a national security issue. It's a violation of the Montana privacy clause in our Constitution, and we're pleased that we're the first state in the country to outright ban the application," said Montana’s Governor Greg Gianforte.

Proposals for a total Texas ban of social media platforms linked to nations unfriendly to the U.S. have stalled in the legislature. One of them, HB 2206, generated more than 50 pages of written comments, in March, many in support of the apps.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott bans TikTok on government-issued devices

June Xu, a business owner from Sugar Land wrote, "They built the bridges for my family in China and my family here in Houston."

Scott puff from Dallas stated, "I strongly appose this bill, as this bill violates the freedom of speech, takes away a free tool which allows my wife and niece to communicate with my in-laws in China."

Alice Yi from Austin pointed out, "This is a constitutional right for Chinese Americans to use their way to connect with their family,"

For many state lawmakers, there is a difference in what people say through the apps and what the apps can tap into.

"There are plenty of other platforms to communicate with people overseas. I don't think social media trends is the most effective way to connect with family. And when you look at the harm that it's doing to our next generation, we have to put a stop to it now. Otherwise, we have no one to blame but ourselves," said State Rep Ellen Troxclair (R) Austin.