- Governor DeSantis signed three bills aimed at curbing Chinese Communist Party influence in the state.
- One bill prevents Chinese citizens from purchasing land in Florida, with some exceptions, and bans the sale of property near military bases and critical infrastructure to interests tied to foreign countries of concern.
- Another bill prohibits state colleges and universities from accepting gifts from or entering into agreements with counterparts in foreign countries of concern, with potential sanctions and withheld funding for noncompliance.
- The so-called TikTok bill bans social media applications deemed as a security risk from government and school devices that are owned by the state.
At a signing ceremony in Brooksville, Florida on Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed three bills aimed at counteracting the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the state. The legislation restricts land ownership by Chinese citizens, bans Chinese-owned social media platforms on government devices, and limits relationships between state colleges and universities and foreign countries of concern, such as China.
“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I’m proud to sign this legislation to stop the purchase of our farmland and land near our military bases and critical infrastructure by Chinese agents, to stop sensitive digital data from being stored in China, and to stop CCP influence in our education system from grade school to grad school. We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”
Effective July 1, one of the bills (SB 264) will largely prevent Chinese citizens from purchasing land in Florida, with some exceptions for those with non-tourist visas. The legislation also prohibits governments, citizens, and businesses from foreign countries of concern from acquiring agricultural land in the state and bans the sale of property within 10 miles of military bases and other critical infrastructure to interests tied to the Chinese government or other foreign countries of concern.
Another bill (SB 258) expands on a 2022 executive order that directed the state Department of Management Services to create a list of prohibited social media applications deemed security risks and block access on state-owned wireless networks. This comes amid a national debate about restricting access to popular apps such as TikTok for security reasons.
The third bill (SB 846) bans state colleges and universities and their employees from accepting gifts from foreign countries of concern and restricts agreements between state colleges and universities and their counterparts in these countries. State university system Chancellor Ray Rodrigues praised the new law for preventing certain countries from exploiting academic freedom in Florida.
Chancellor Ray Rodrigues of the Florida state university system praised the new legislation for safeguarding academic freedom in the state from potential exploitation by certain countries. Should a college or university forge an agreement without authorization, the State Board of Education or the Board of Governors of the university system reserves the right to impose sanctions or withhold performance funding, which can amount to tens of millions of dollars in some instances. The legislation builds upon a 2021 law that established new reporting requirements for organizations pursuing state grants or contracts.