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Legislature OKs bill to ban some foreign governments from owning property

The bill no longer purports to stop individuals from purchasing property, only entities representing the governments themselves.

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A bill that originally would have barred Chinese citizens from purchasing real property in the state has made it to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey, albeit far from the initial language.

In its final form, which the House concurred with Wednesday, the bill would prevent government entities from countries including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran from owning property within 10 miles of critical infrastructure. It would also prevent those entities from buying land for agricultural purposes.

The bill was heavily changed in a Senate committee and on the Senate floor after a group of Chinese Alabamians spoke at a public hearing explaining their concerns that the bill discriminates against Chinese people and could fuel racism and anti-Asian hatred.

The group said Monday that they appreciated the changes made by the Senate, but still had concerns with the way the bill is written.

The bill, HB379, was sponsored by House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle. 

“This bill protects Alabama’s farmlands and the land around military bases, power plants and transportation hubs from falling into the hands of adversarial governments,” Stadthagen explained. “It is vital that we protect our lands and our critical infrastructure and this bill takes great strides toward doing that.”

Stadthagen said he has no regrets about the bill despite the protests.

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“I will never apologize for doing what is right to protect this state and this nation,” Stadthagen said. “I will always fight to protect our national security and our food security. The Alabama Property Protection Act does both.”

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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