Monday will offer the first Senate hearing on legislation (SB 1788) banning people under 16 years old from social media.
The Judiciary Committee will hear Sen. Erin Grall’s bill that bans them from creating new accounts, and requires platforms to terminate existing accounts held by those youth.
The bill is similar to HB 1, a priority of House Speaker Paul Renner that has already been voted on and sent to the Senate. Renner’s bill was passed despite legal challenges to similar legislation in Utah and Ohio,
Questions remain in the executive branch about its legality.
“There have been other states that have tried to do similar things that have met resistance in the courts,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said last month. “Not to say courts are always right about this, but anything I do, I want a pathway for this to actually stick.”
Florida’s Attorney General is more sold on the legislation’s viability.
“I think you’re going to see leaders all over the nation that are parents. We all have children. Folks are getting to our children, and adults (who) want to do them harm are getting to our children through social media. Our children are being exposed to inappropriate material; they’re being addicted online. We have to do something to stand up for our kids. I’m proud of the state of Florida, (which) is exploring ways to do that. And I think you’re going to see that all over the nation,” AG Ashley Moody said on Fox News last month.
The Senate bill analysis invites a skeptical read of Grall’s bill, asserting that “requiring social media platforms and their users to use age-verification presents a complex issue that raises several constitutional concerns. The language in the bill may implicate consideration of a number of constitutional protections.” Those include the right to free speech in the First Amendment, the Contracts Clause, and the Supremacy Clause.