North Dakota Senate kills House foreign land ownership bill due to its similarities with another plan
Sen. Todd Beard, R-Williston, said the reason behind the “do not pass” recommendation is because the bill is similar to Senate Bill 2371
BISMARCK – The North Dakota Senate on Monday voted 45-2 to not pass House Bill 1503 , which seeks to prohibit foreign ownership of real property in the state.
Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on the bill during a hearing last week . At that hearing the bill received a 5-0, with one absent, “do not pass" recommendation from committee members.
Sen. Todd Beard, R-Williston, said the reason behind the “do not pass” recommendation is because the bill is similar to Senate Bill 2371 , which the Senate passed and has since been introduced to the House.
House Bill 1503 — which passed out of the House with a 930-0 vote — focuses on an individual defined as a “covered person” who would be buying land. Within House Bill 1503, a “covered person” is defined as someone who owns or controls any real estate, commercial assets or operates a business within the state that is owned by, controlled by or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary or an individual acting on behalf of or in conjunction with a foreign adversary.
Senate Bill 2371 focuses on foreign adversaries and would prohibit county commissions and city councils from establishing development agreements with entities deemed “foreign adversaries” of the United States.
“In discussion and testimony in (House Bill) 1503, it was discussed that (Senate Bill) 2371 in the House side is currently being looked at and they’re working on amendments that very much will take 1503 and insert much of this into 2371,” Beard said . “... It’s not that we didn’t support the bill — it had great support in the House side. but because of the amendment process, this bill will probably no longer be needed.”
Both proposals come in the wake of the now-abandoned Fufeng corn mill project in Grand Forks. After a year of discussing the project and working to move it forward, the City Council voted against continuing with the project after the Air Force declared it a threat to national security, due to its Chinese ownership and proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The Department of the U.S. Air Force made its declaration in January.
Another bill related to foreign entities acquiring or investing in land in North Dakota, House Bill 1135 , is still making its way through the Senate. Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on the bill during their March 17 hearing.