MONTGOMERY — Legislation that bars certain foreign citizens and entities from owning farm and forest land in Alabama passed the Senate on Thursday.
The bill now heads back to the House since it was amended in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee on Wednesday.
House Bill 379, sponsored by House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle), initially would've prevented Chinese citizens, governments or entities from acquiring land in Alabama. The legislation passed the House last week.
However, the bill was changed in the Senate committee via a substitute amendment to prohibit individuals residing in certain foreign countries, certain foreign governments, or governmental entities, and any person, country, or government identified on a sanctions list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control from acquiring agricultural and forest property in the state.
State Sen. David Sessions (R-Grand Bay) said on the Senate floor on Thursday, "[T]he original bill that came out of the House was very narrow in scope."
"My intent the entire time was to protect our agricultural land and our natural resources," Sessions said. "We also wanted to protect land around our military facilities and critical infrastructure."
This bill would now also prohibit certain individuals domiciled in certain foreign countries, certain foreign governments, or governmental entities, and any person, country, or government identified on a sanctions list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control from acquiring real property within 10 miles of any military installation or critical infrastructure facility in the state.
The legislation lists China, North Korea, Russian and Iran as "foreign countries of concern."
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email caleb.taylor@1819News.com.
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