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Senate passes foreign property ownership ban

In the ongoing effort to safeguard Alabama’s agricultural resources and critical infrastructure against foreign threats, the Alabama Senate passed an amended form of the Alabama Property Protection Act on Thursday.

The original version of the bill would have prohibited Chinese citizens and entities specifically from owning property in Alabama, but underwent revision Wednesday in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The revised bill now prohibits individuals residing in China, Iran, North Korea, Russia and any person, country, or government identified on the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanction list from acquiring agricultural and forest property in Alabama.

Lawmakers say the latest version is dialed into pressing threats.

“Protecting our agriculture and military resources is essential and this bill makes real strides in establishing protective measures in that area,” the bill’s architect, Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle), said Thursday following passage.

RELATED: Britt: 1 acre of US farmland owned by China is 1 too many

“We started with a broad bill and worked diligently to find a solution that was agreed upon by all parties,” Senate sponsor David Sessions (R-Grand Bay) said, “Our land is priceless to the American people, our economy, and our very way of life. These foreign countries of concern should not have the option or luxury of infiltrating Alabama and it is our duty to protect it.”

Alabama’s lawmakers in D.C. are also taking action against foreign property ownership. The Foreign Adversary Risk Management Act by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) and supported by Sen. Katie Britt (R-Montgomery), would address Chinese ownership of agricultural land in the United States on a broader scale.

U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Huntsville) introduced legislation Wednesday in Congress that also targets China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

President Pro Tem Greg Reed commended the passage of the state Senate bill Thursday.

“The Alabama Senate supports this piece of legislation and the unwavering efforts of Senator David Sessions in conjunction with Representative Scott Stadthagen to protect Alabama and our citizens from the influence and control of foreign entities that have no business intruding and purchasing Alabama property.”

The bill will head back to the House for concurrence. Thursday was the 23rd day of the 2023 legislative session.

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 for coverage of the 2023 legislative session. 

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