China crackdown bills keep moving in Senate, House

A DeSantis priority gets closer to becoming law.

One day after the Senate passed a bill cracking down on China and other hostile nations buying land near military bases, a House panel moved similar legislation.

The Appropriations Committee approved HB 1355 from Republican Rep. David Borrero and Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron. The legislation covers similar ground to SB 264, passed unanimously by the Senate Tuesday.

Borrero said the bill was a way to “protect United States interests, assets and land,” noting China and Russia have been working to undermine American interests around the world and in the U.S. itself.

“You heard what happened with the spy balloon,” he said.

China’s “land problem,” he noted, can’t be solved with American parcels.

The bill bans companies tied to countries of concern  — China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and North Korea — from doing business with Florida’s government.

“You can’t do business with them,” Borrero said. “They don’t deserve our business.”

Parties doing business with the state would have to attest to not being controlled by hostile foreign regimes, and governmental agencies would be blocked from soliciting bids or negotiations from these compromised countries by year’s end. Contracts could not be renewed with those companies after July 1, 2025.

The bill also blocks foreign countries of concern and their agents from owning farmland or property within 20 miles of a military installation. Foreign principals can continue to hold such land, but not buy more, after July 1, 2023, but would be compelled to register with the state. They would also have to divest themselves of that property interest within two years.

The bill also mandates that the offsite storage of certain personal medical information must be in the continental United States, a territory of the United States, or in Canada.

Finally, the bill enhances penalties for extortion by a “foreign agent who acts with the intent of benefiting a country of concern,” making the crime a first-degree felony with a potential 30-year prison term as punishment.

House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell lauded the bill Wednesday as “critical to our national security,” a sign that concern over foreign influence was thoroughly bipartisan.

In close, Rep. Waldron vowed to strengthen the bill’s “agricultural designation,” a suggestion from Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.

This legislation was foreshadowed by Gov. Ron DeSantis denouncing the Communist Chinese government.

In The Villages back in January, he promised a tough ban “as broad as possible,” against land purchases and offered scenarios illustrating the danger.

“Just imagine, not that they would sell it here in The Villages, but just imagine that the (Chinese Communist Party) had a company buying subdivisions in the Villages,” DeSantis said. “Would you want that to be happening? Of course not. You don’t want them buying farmland, controlling our food supply. You don’t want them near military bases. But do you want them building a resort in Florida either? I don’t.”

He said similar things earlier in the year also.

“If you look at the Chinese Communist Party, they’ve been very active throughout the Western Hemisphere in gobbling up land and investing in different things,” the Governor said at a previous presser.

“And, you know, when they have interests that are opposed to ours, and you’ve seen how they’ve wielded their authority — especially with President Xi (Jinping), who’s taken a much more Marxist-Leninist turn since he’s been ruling China — that is not in the best interests of Florida to have the Chinese Communist Party owning farmland, owning land close to military bases.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


3 comments

  • David Pakman

    April 12, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Calling on China to help Florida with its conservative Republican problem. Help! Help! We will help you buy houses! We love you CCP! Please come here now! Need help annihilating these fascists and religious bombers.

  • Earl Pitts American

    April 12, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    Good evening America,
    Read below for an informative China update:
    China’s been requesting our homeless populations be shipped over to join the weigger slaves on their production lines. But I, Earl Pitts American, told China no way.
    Once we get a Republican back in the White House America’s homeless problems will all be resolved and our vulnarable homeless population will be back at good fair honest full employment.
    I, Earl Pitts American, did offer up hords of our leftists for China’s labor production lines. However China refused stating y’all leftists are troublesome whiney diaper babies and undisiplined workers. So you leftists can relax you will not be force migrated to join China’s slave labor workforce. Unless Apple runs really low on labor you are safe.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • David Pakman

      April 13, 2023 at 9:32 am

      👆 Report this far right troll and delusional whacko to FP for false information and vandalizing the website with stupidity.

Comments are closed.


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