Public Land

Senate Targets ‘Countries Of Concern’ In Florida Land Sales

Public Land
Source: FWC

A proposal that would prohibit the sale of agricultural land and property within 20 miles of military bases to interests tied to the Chinese government or other nations on a list of “countries of concern” is headed to the Senate floor.

The Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday backed the proposal (SB 264), which also would affect government contracts that involve access to personal information.

It would prevent agencies from entering such contracts with entities tied to countries of concern. The proposal also would require healthcare providers to ensure electronic technology keeps patient information within the continental U.S. Bill sponsor Jay Collins, R-Tampa, said the proposal does “a very good job of protecting our strategic level interests.”

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He added, “Frankly, there are people who just don’t believe the American dream, the American way of life.” While China is the primary focus of Collins’ proposal, other countries of concern are Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and Syria.

The bill would take effect July 1. People or entities that owned agricultural land before then would not have to give up the property, but they would be prevented from expanding their acreage.

Information is not readily available about how much agricultural land in Florida is owned by entities tied to China. A similar House bill (HB 1355) will go before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

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