Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to craft his “Florida First” War on China just as he is about to be inaugurated governor, again.
Florida’s political universe will descend on Tallahassee the first week of January to see Gov. DeSantis take the Oath of Office, just as the first committee week of the 2023 legislative session in Florida takes place.
Gov. DeSantis is expected to continue his popular “Free State of Florida” legislative agenda, but some Republican critics are weary of how certain pieces of legislation Gov. DeSantis may sign into law, will look when they first hit the Governor’s desk later this year.
Former State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R), who lost his congressional bid in 2022 to now Congressman Cory Mills (R), questions the potential anti-China legislative measure (s) Desantis said he would work with the Republican-led state legislature to help realize.
Responding to DeSantis Press Secretary Byran Griffin’s recent tweet stating that “Florida is far ahead on efforts to reduce CCP influence over domestic farmland,” Sabatini questions the “LIMITED ban that only stops purchases of farmland & properties near military bases.”
Sabatini contends that a “LIMITED” bill that only calls for the state to stop Communist China from buying properties near military bases and farmland,” will allow the Chinese to purchase other types of land, including any and all commercial and residential properties.
"This doesn’t make sense Republicans control ALL power here in Florida Yet the Legislature is proposing a LIMITED ban that only stops purchases of farmland & properties near military bases This allows China to own ALL other types of land in FL—including residential & commercial,” stated Sabatini.
In the Fall of 2022, DeSantis announced that he will be working with the Republican-controlled state legislature to draft legislation targeting Communist China’s aggressive move of buying up American farmland and property around military installations.
Gov. DeSantis pointed out that Florida has 21 different military installations around the state that could be targeted by China and other “countries of concern” like Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela.
Prohibit the purchase of these lands near military bases by China and other countries of concern
“Prohibit China and other foreign countries of concern from purchasing agricultural land and land surrounding military bases in Florida,” reads a media hand out DeSantis’ aides handed out.
Several members of the Miami-Dade delegation of the Florida Legislature were on hand and spoke to The Floridian about the Governor’s move to have a bill filed to try to keep China out of Florida.
“We shouldn’t have the influence of the Chinese Communist party in our backyard. It’s a security,” Rep. David Borrero.
State Rep. Alex Rizo believes that the soon-to-be proposed measure outlawing China from buying Florida farmlands will pass the state legislature.
“There is a lot of danger. There are players out there that are acting as agents of foreign countries that are buying up land…this is something we really need to look out,” said Rep. Rizo.
But while everyone is on the same page about preventing China to buy important militarily strategic land, and farmland in Florida, can the Chinese be completely prevented from buying up all other land as Sabatini contends the will be?
Florida State Rep. Alex Andrade (R) told The Floridian that preventing China from buying any land is difficult because the government isn’t directly buying the land, rather the Chinese use shell companies and individuals to make the purchases.
Rep. Andrade thinks that while a law can be pass to outlaw the sale of all land to Chinese interests, he questions if it will be even be able to be enforced, and believes that the best and only honest way of protecting Florida land from falling into the hands of the Chinese is through zoning and land use.
The Chinese government is employing tactics that seek to influence lawmakers and public opinion to achieve policies that are more favorable to China.
At the same time, the Chinese government is seeking to become the world’s greatest superpower through predatory lending and business practices, systematic theft of intellectual property, and brazen cyber intrusions.
China’s efforts target businesses, academic institutions, researchers, lawmakers, and the general public and will require a whole-of-society response. The government and the private sector must commit to working together to better understand and counter the threat.—Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
The Chinese threat to the U.S. is real, and now Democrats have begun to echo what Republican lawmakers like Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, as well as Reps. Cory Mills, Michael Waltz, and Brian Mast, have been saying about the China threat.
Days before the November Midterm elections, Sen. Rubio outlined the threat that China posed to the U.S., Western world.
“The greatest geo-political challenge of the 21st century will be the relationship between the U.S. and China, and I hope that China changes its trajectory,” said Sen. Rubio. “But we have to recognize we have a near-pear competitor what we’ve never faced—Soviet Union was nothing compared to China.”
In addition, Rubio outlined how the Soviet Union only competed with the U.S. on “the military stage,” and not on any economical, technological, or industrial level, like China currently does.
“They were a military power, they were not a commercial power, they were not a technological power, they were not a bio-medical power, they were not an industrial power, they were a geo-political competitor on the military stage, and to some extent, diplomatic. But that’s it,” added Rubio. “The Chinese pose a threat, it doesn’t need to be a threat, that’s the decision they’ve made. The choice they’ve made is that they want to be the world’s most powerful country.”
DeSantis and Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee can tighten up any discussed legislative measure aimed at blocking China’s purchase of Florida land in the coming months.
This is a big national security topic, as well as a political issue, that DeSantis & Co. will aim to champion.
The 2023 state legislative session convenes in early March and concludes 60 days later in May.