Chinese nationals would be barred from owning property in Texas under proposed legislation that received initial approval from the state senate on April 25.
Under SB 147, entities associated with “a country that poses a risk to the national security of the United States in each of the three most recent Annual Threat Assessments of the U.S. Intelligence Community” will be prohibited from purchasing farm land, timberland, mines, and land with oil and gas rights.
The countries named in the bill include China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
In addition, the bill would apply to governmental entities, as well as companies headquartered, held, controlled, owned, or which have the majority of their stock owned by citizens of those countries.
The bill that passed is a watered-down version of an earlier bill that aimed to outright ban land sales to dual citizens and businesses connected to China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, the Texas Tribune reported.
“This ensures that we strengthen our food security, our energy security and our national security,” the Tribune quoted state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst as saying after debate over the proposed legislation.
Kolkhorst amended the language of the statute in March to clarify that the bill would not apply to dual citizens or homes that were homesteaded. Despite the revised verbiage, the legislation is being decried as racist and is receiving opposition from Asian American Texans.
“This is discrimination against Chinese Americans,” said Jian Xie, a member of multiple North Texas organizations with ties to the Asian and Chinese American communities, per the Dallas Morning News. “We’re going to continue calling members of the House of Representatives to express our concerns because this is unconstitutional.”
The bill needs only one more vote before it can be sent to the House for a vote.
Top state lawmakers have backed the bill, including Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Gov. Greg Abbott, who has pledged to sign the bill once it passes both chambers.