Governor Ron DeSantis is making waves with his decision to prohibit Chinese investors from owning farmland in Florida.
DeSantis Stops CCP From Buying Farmland
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis voiced concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “concerted effort to acquire farmland throughout the United States,” including in Florida and has signed a new bill into law.
In its final form, the bill prevents the foreign countries of concern and their officers from buying farmland as well as property within 10 miles of a military installation or critical infrastructure facility.
Speaking at a recent press conference, DeSantis stressed that food security is also national security, and the CCP should not be allowed to control any food production in the country.
“Today is one example of Florida really leading the nation in terms of what we’re doing to stop the influence of the Chinese Communist party,” DeSantis said at press conference Monday.
“We want to make sure that our agricultural land is not compromised by CCP influence,” DeSantis said. “[The law] ensures our seaports, it ensures our airports, powerplants, telecom systems and other critical infrastructure will not be compromised by the CPP or any foreign adversary.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, China owned 352,140 acres of U.S. land in 2020, accounting for 1% of total foreign-held acres, while Canadian investors owned the most, with 12.4 million acres.
The bill passed the Florida House by a 95-17 vote and the Senate with only eight lawmakers opposed.
Bill Faces Opposition
Senate Bill 264, which goes into effect July 1, bans citizens of Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela from owning land within 10 miles of military bases and critical infrastructure like airports and power plants, would only affect residents of China in Florida.
The bill has faced opposition from dozens of Chinese-Americans, who testified against it last month, fearing it could lead to discrimination or prevent them from buying homes if they have not yet become lawful permanent residents.
Similar measures are being considered in other states, such as Texas, and Senator Tom Cotton has introduced national legislation calling for a full ban on those associated with China from buying real estate on American soil.
DeSantis has signed two additional bills aimed at reducing China’s influence in Florida: SB 258, which blocks access to apps like TikTok on government-issued devices and networks.
The second one, which DeSantis made into law, is SB 846, which prohibits Florida state universities and colleges from accepting grants from “foreign countries of concern” or participating in partnerships with universities based in such countries unless specific conditions are met.
“When you look at foreign threats, and you look at a country like China and their ambitions, one you’ve got to recognize the folly of prior American policies for the last generation,” said DeSantis, who is expected to soon announce a presidential run. “A strong America abroad requires a strong America at home, and I think the elites in this country have ignored problems at home for far too long.”
All three bills passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled Florida legislature with bipartisan support.
DeSantis Combats ESG
DeSantis hopes other states will follow Florida’s lead in deterring the CCP’s ambitions and influence.
During the press conference, DeSantis also praised the passage of other laws this legislative session, including measures to combat ESG, permit the death penalty for those convicted of sexually abusing children, and crack down on fentanyl dealers.
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