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Florida Takes Lead Against Chinese Influence with New Legislation

AgTech Florida Bill Agriculture

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has taken decisive action against the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the state, signing three pieces of legislation today to safeguard national interests. The bills, which build upon previous efforts to combat corporate espionage and higher education fraud, seek to limit Chinese purchases of agricultural land, enhance data protection, and reduce Chinese influence in Florida’s education system.

“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” declared Governor DeSantis. “We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”

The legislation addresses concerns over foreign nations, including China, controlling critical agricultural lands in the U.S., which poses potential risks to the country’s food supply and national security interests. The legislation also seeks to protect digital data from Chinese espionage, amending specific electronic health record statutes to ensure that health records are physically stored within the continental U.S., U.S. territories, or Canada.

Senate Bill (SB) 846, titled “Agreements of Educational Entities with Foreign Entities,” prohibits state colleges and universities, along with their employees and representatives, from soliciting or accepting any gift in their official capacities from a college or university based in a foreign country of concern. It also bars state colleges and universities from accepting any grant from or entering into any agreement or partnership with any college or university in a foreign country of concern. Furthermore, the bill prevents any private school participating in the state’s school choice scholarship program from owning or operating by a person or entity domiciled in, owned by, or controlled by a foreign country of concern.

SB 258 requires the Department of Management Services to compile a list of prohibited applications owned by a foreign principal or foreign countries of concern, including China, due to their cybersecurity and data privacy risks.

Photo by Denys Kostyuchenko on Unsplash 

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