Florida lawmakers, Senator Lori Berman and Representative Katherine Waldron have filed bills to block Chinese Communist Party (CCP) investments in strategic assets and real estate in the state. The proposed legislation, SB 924/HB 835, seeks to prevent the CCP from purchasing or acquiring properties near military bases and other critical locations in Florida. The proposed bill is intended to protect American national security and ensure that vital infrastructure is safe from foreign surveillance and potential influence by the CCP and its affiliates.
The CCP has already purchased more than $2 billion worth of land across the United States, including almost 200,000 acres of land located near military bases. Without legislation in place, states have been unable to halt these purchases. The proposed bill will be a proactive measure to protect the physical and strategic assets of the state from being exploited by potential foreign adversaries.
The strategic assets that the bill aims to protect include power plants, water treatment facilities, emergency operation centers, military bases, telecommunications towers, law enforcement facilities, and other structures that the state deems strategic. This legislation is in line with President Biden’s recent Executive Order signed in September 2022, which helps define additional national security factors for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) to consider when evaluating transactions.
Senator Berman noted that the proposed bill is necessary to counter the CCP’s troubling influence and unlawful surveillance. The bill seeks to protect not only the state’s vital assets but also its business industry, agriculture sector, and residents from any potential covert influence by the CCP and its affiliates. Representative Waldron added that the proposed legislation will prevent foreign adversaries from exploiting their proximity to Florida’s strategic assets.
The proposed bill will go a long way in ensuring that Florida’s vital infrastructure remains safe and secure, protecting the state’s national security and economic interests. The legislation will likely face opposition from businesses with Chinese investments and investors, but Florida lawmakers remain resolute in their determination to protect the state’s interests.