Category Archives: Uncategorized

Proposed TikTok ban for kids fails in Virginia’s Legislature

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A GOP legislative effort to prevent Virginia children from using the popular video-sharing app TikTok — an idea backed by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin — died this week in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. The bill, sponsored by Republican Del. Jay Leftwich of Chesapeake, was left in a House of Delegates committee after…Read more

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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Proposed TikTok ban for kids fails in Virginia’s Legislature

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A GOP legislative effort to prevent Virginia children from using the popular video-sharing app TikTok — an idea backed by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin — died this week in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Del. Jay Leftwich of Chesapeake, was left in a House of Delegates committee after concerns were raised about how the ban would be enforced. Lawmakers also questioned whether singling out just one company was the right approach at a time of broad and rising concern from parents and lawmakers about the effect of social media on youth.

The bill’s lack of movement effectively killed the measure because of a procedural deadline Tuesday for most legislation to clear its chamber of origin. No comparable bill was introduced in the state Senate.

Youngkin framed his call for a ban on kids using the app, issued in a December speech, as a tool to help protect children’s mental health, part of a broader push by his administration on the issue.

Leftwich also said he brought the bill out of mental health and data privacy concerns for young people.

“The whole platform, especially for minors, is to get them engaged and kind of hooked into watching these things. And it leads them down different rabbit holes and they sit there for hours and hours watching these things,” he said in a committee hearing.

Leftwich’s bill went through a hefty revision from the way it was first introduced. The most recent iteration said TikTok Inc. and ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the app, “shall not provide access to TikTok to any child within the Commonwealth.”

The bill would have allowed a child’s parent or legal custodian to bring a lawsuit against TikTok if a child was provided access. And if a plaintiff prevailed, they could recover damages of $75,000 for “each discrete violation,” defined as each separate instance a child accessed the platform, along with other damages, according to the text of the bill.

The bill received one hearing in a House committee that deals with technology bills. It advanced from there on a bipartisan 14-8 vote to a different committee where it was never heard.

Democrats in the hearing raised a range of concerns, including questions about enforceability and whether the government — rather than parents — should be responsible for limiting children’s access to social media.

Leftwich responded that policymakers have banned children from having access to “harmful substances” like alcohol and cannabis, and that he saw his proposal in the same light.

Del. Holly Seibold, a Democrat from Fairfax County, thanked Leftwich for bringing the bill, saying she was a parent of teenagers and agreed children are becoming addicted to social media apps and their cellphones in general.

“But I will not be supporting this bill because I think it’s unfair to single out TikTok,” she said.

A spokesperson for TikTok, Jamal Brown, said in a statement that the company works hard to support teens’ well-being on the app, with tools including an automatic 60-minute time limit for users under 18, restrictions on direct messaging and parental controls.

“We’ve long said bans, like the one proposed in this legislation, are not only the wrong approach, but also raise significant First Amendment concerns,” Brown said.

Macaulay Porter, deputy communications director for Youngkin, said in a statement that the governor “remains committed to empowering parents in Virginia and protecting youth in the Commonwealth from social media’s harmful impacts.”

Youngkin previously banned the use of TikTok on state government devices and wireless networks through a 2022 executive order, citing national security concerns.

Other states and the federal government have taken similar steps to limit the use of the app on government devices, and Montana in 2023 passed a complete ban, which was later put on hold before it could take effect by a federal judge who called it unconstitutional.

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Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is running for the US Senate

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan addresses supporters at the Maryland statehouse, Jan. 10, 2023, in Annapolis, Md. The former Maryland Governor announced Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, he will run for U.S. Senate, giving Republicans a prominent candidate who is well-positioned to run a competitive campaign for the GOP in a state that hasn’t had a Republican…Continue Reading

Maryland’s first-of-its-kind economic report finds mixed signals

Julia Eisen – WMAL News | January 3, 2024 Maryland has continued to tote strong economic indicators but underlying problems have crept up to the surface, causing some concerns. Comptroller Brooke Lierman released the first ever State of the Economy Report on Wednesday, detailing the contradicting economic measures. The report collected data from different businesses,…Continue Reading

Americans sour on the primary election process and major political parties, an AP-NORC poll says

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the GOP presidential primaries just about to start, many Republicans aren’t certain that votes will be counted correctly in their contest, as pessimism spreads about the future of both the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. About one-third of Republicans…Continue Reading

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court, has died at 93

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, an unwavering voice of moderate conservatism and the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, has died. She was 93. The court says she died in Phoenix on Friday, of complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory illness. In 2018, she announced…Continue Reading

Fairfax County Police release sketch of suspected serial flasher

Heather Curtis – WMAL News | November 2, 2023 Fairfax County Police released a sketch Thursday of a man they think exposed himself to multiple people in Bailey’s Crossroad dating back to August 2022. The most recent case happened on Thursday, Oct. 26 when police said he man exposed himself to a minor in the…Continue Reading

Trick or Treat! University of Maryland Children’s Hospital celebrates NICU babies’ first Halloween

Julia Eisen – WMAL News | October 31, 2023 The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) celebrated the spooky holiday in style with it’s annual costume tradition. This year is extra special as a group of triplets dressed up as Batman, Robin and Superman. Additionally, other patients wore fairy, pumpkin and…Continue Reading

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