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Protecting Tennessee property from  foreign adversaries

The Government Operations Committee this week advanced legislation further  protecting property in Tennessee from being purchased by hostile foreign nations.

House Bill 2553, sponsored by State Rep. Jay Reedy, R-Erin, would prevent prohibited foreign parties designated by the federal  government  from owning or acquiring property in the state unless certain conditions were met.  The proposed legislation repeals most of a similar law passed last year and  replaces it with stricter protections and reporting requirements.

Any prohibited foreign party or business that currently owns land in the state would  have to divest itself from the property within two years, according to the bill. The  Office of Agriculture Intelligence would also be created within the Tennessee  Department of Agriculture to collect data and analyze information regarding the  unlawful sale or possession of agricultural land statewide. 

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Of the 26.4 million total acres in Tennessee, there were 427,288 acres of  agricultural land and 434,268 acres of non-agricultural land owned by a foreign country or investor as of December 2020,  according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

House Bill 2553 is scheduled to be heard in the Finance, Ways and Means  Subcommittee on April 3.

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