Louisiana bill would block foreign adversaries from buying land in state

A bill to block corporations linked to foreign adversaries from buying land or other immovable property in Louisiana is scheduled for a floor vote in the state House next week.

The House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure approved House Bill 537 this week, sponsored by Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, with a vote of 11-1, sending the measure to the House floor for a scheduled vote on Tuesday.

"This bill is seeking to protect state sovereignty," Hodges told the committee, stressing it would apply to "corporations who are seeking to control essential assets, not local residents with lawful status who want to contribute to Louisiana business, culture and community."

Beginning Aug. 1, HB 537 would prohibit any person connected with a foreign adversary from purchasing, leasing or otherwise acquiring immovable property in Louisiana. It would allow the attorney general to bring action for injunctive relief on behalf of the state to block sales, investigate transactions, and petition the court to take action.

Legal options for the court include ordering a judicial sale, with the proceeds paid to the Department of Justice to fund services for veterans of foreign wars. The legislation was amended in the civil law committee to specify the law would not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents, or single family residences. The bill ties the definition of foreign adversaries to a federal list that currently includes the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and Venezuela.

Louisiana legislature by David Brossard is licensed under flickr Creative Commons
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