As Breitbart News previously reported, Noem had proposed a bill that would “create a state-level version of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)” in order to curtail foreign Chinese entities from buying agricultural land in her state:
Currently, CFIUS is a federal board that approves or disapproves of foreign entities engaging in major U.S. transactions. Noem’s proposal would establish a CFIUS-South Dakota, or CFIUS-SD, which would review proposed transactions in the state where foreign entities including but not limited to Chinese entities seek to purchase land. The board, if established — which would require the legislature to pass Noem’s proposal — could block such land sales as it sees fit.
Essentially, Senate Bill 185 would have granted the South Dakota governor the power to unilaterally veto any purchase reviewed by the panel. The state senate rejected the bill on Tuesday with an 11-23 vote.
“The bill faced opposition from nearly every agriculture industry group in committee testimony. But the proposal’s supporters on the Senate floor said any flaws would be rectified before it becomes law,” reported South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB).
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The bill’s opponents, such as Republican State Sen. David Wheeler, feared that it would give too much power to the executive branch.
Noem previously told Breitbart News that she considers the bill a matter of national security, charging that special interest groups did not want the bill to pass.
“This is an issue that came up months ago when we saw a land purchase in North Dakota, our neighbors to the north, where a Chinese entity bought up land next to their Air Force Base, saying they were going to build a corn plant, but there wasn’t enough even corn grown in that area to sustain a facility like that, and it came under question,” Noem said. “I think we all agree that we shouldn’t allow our enemies to have a presence, especially close to our national security infrastructure. We have Ellsworth Air Force base, which is going to be the home of the B21s. We want to make sure that those who have the chance to purchase land here in our state love America and that they want to do good, not do us harm.”
Noem added that special interest groups opposing the bill did not provide any specifics in their criticism.
“We also agree that this is a national security issue and that protecting America is important and that this has been a real threat to our country, and with the B21 coming to South Dakota, we are a target for exactly the kinds of activities that China is doing in other places, such as buying up land and assets and from other countries that hate us,” Noem said.
“What’s been interesting about the debate so far on this bill I’m proposing with help from a couple legislators,” she continued, “is that the opposition has not come to the table and given us other solutions and other things they think would work that would give us this kind of accountability and make sure that we have a review of land that’s purchased in South Dakota. They haven’t given us articulated reasons as to why they’re opposed to the bill, so for me, this is an issue the public has brought to me for many, many months. They care about this.”
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