FRANKFORT, Ky. — Lawmakers in the Kentucky State Senate voted Friday to ban the popular short-form video sharing app TikTok from state government networks and devices.

What You Need To Know

  • The Kentucky Senate voted unanimously to ban TikTok from state networks and devices

  • The short-form video sharing app is wildly popular among Gen Z

  • Gov. Andy Beshear had banned the app on state government devices through an executive order in mid-January

  • The ban doesn't apply to personal devices or networks, nor does it include Wi-Fi networks at public universities

The vote on Senate Bill 20, blocking the use or download of the app wildly popular among young Americans on all state-issued devices and networks, was unanimous. It now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

In Kentucky, the measure is a “prudent” step in responding to security concerns, said Republican state Sen. Robby Mills, the bill’s lead sponsor.

“We need to protect the data that exists on state government devices,” Mills said. “And one very practical way of doing this is to remove a known data mining app from all the state of Kentucky’s digital devices and computers, as this bill does.”

TikTok boasts about 80 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone. Gov. Andy Beshear (D) had banned the app on executive branch devices through an executive order in mid-January.

“Our action is a permanent action, sets it in statute, to where we don’t have to revisit this,” Mills said.

SB 20s passage comes as bipartisan calls to ban the app nationwide increase because of national security concerns with TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance. Twenty other state governments have banned the app, including neighbors Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.

“I mean I think this is kind of a 50 state effort to try to make sure that we, you know, protect our data and I think we’re doing Kentucky’s part in protecting our data,” Mills said.

The ban doesn’t apply to personal devices or networks, nor does it include Wi-Fi networks at public universities.

“Really my view was that’s kind of getting into individuals’ information and things that they need to make the decisions on and government probably shouldn’t be getting that deep into people’s personal lives,” Mills said.

The focus on TikTok and national security was renewed after the saga of the Chinese spy balloon, which was spotted floating through the continental U.S. before it was shot down off the coast of South Carolina.

China maintains the balloon accidentally drifted into U.S. airspace and was used for weather monitoring.

Senate Bill 20 now heads to the House. Sen. Mills believes it will quickly move through that chamber as it did in the Senate.

Lawmakers will return to Frankfort for week three of the session on Tuesday, Feb. 14.