A bill that would prohibit any further foreign ownership of Missouri land was passed in the Senate on Monday.
The Senate amended a bill from the House to add an emergency clause and expand the definition of what is included as a foreign business. The bill also requires a 30-day notice to the Department of Agriculture in cases of transfers involving land that is already owned by a foreign entity.
Current law limits foreign ownership of Missouri land to 1% of the total acreage.
Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, argued on the floor that the legislation limited individual property rights.
The vote was 31-3 in favor.
“It’s regulating what private property owners can do with their property. We’re adding additional restrictions to property owners in this state,” said Hough.
Support for the bill was bipartisan, with Sen. Doug Beck, D-Affton, and Sen. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette, expressing their support on the Senate floor.
“This has never been about putting people out of business or being anti-foreign… this is about making sure that we have security over our own food production,” said McCreery. “This is about making sure that our constituents have what they need to sustain life.”
Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said this legislation would help protect Missouri from potential foreign threats, referencing the Chinese balloon crossing Missouri.
“Are we going to sell to a foreign adversary that wishes to destroy our very nation? Absolutely not,” Brattin said.
The bill now moves back to the House, which can pass it as is and send it to the governor or request a conference committee to work out differences between the two chambers.
This story originally appeared in the Columbia Missourian. It can be republished in print or online.
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