Bill to ban local governments from forming development agreements with adversaries passes North Dako

2023-04-18 13:45

BISMARCK – A bill seeking to prohibit countiesand municipalities from establishing development agreements with entities deemedforeign adversaries of the United States passed the North Dakota House ofRepresentatives in an 87-3 floor vote on Monday, April 17.

Senate Bill 2371 ,introduced by Sen. Bob Paulson, R-Minot, states that county and city boards"including a board in a home rule county, may not procure, authorize, orapprove a development agreement, building plan, or proposal relating to countydevelopment with an individual or government identified as a foreignadversary" by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

The Secretary of Commerce list includes Cuba,Russia, The People’s Republic of China, Iran, North Korea and the regime ofNicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Before the vote Rep. Bill Tveit, R-Hazen, said nocountry is mentioned by name in the actual bill, which if signed into law wouldstay up to date on countries that may become adversaries to the U.S.

The bill passed the Senate in a 47-0 floor voteon Feb. 16 and received a 12-1 “do pass” recommendation from the HouseAgriculture Committee last week.

The introduction of the bill was prompted by thenow-stopped Fufeng wet corn mill project in Grand Forks, according to Tveit.Fufeng Group, which sought to build the corn mill on the northern end of GrandForks, was deemed a national security threat by the Department of the Air Forceearlier this year. The Grand Forks City Council voted to stop the project followingthe Air Force’s declaration.

“Senate Bill 2371 simply seeks to prevent realproperty ownership in North Dakota by countries identified as foreignadversaries in the interest of national security and, frankly, food security,”Tveit said during Monday’s House floor session.

Tveit said other bills related to foreigngovernments purchasing land have been introduced in other states as well as atthe federal level. In addition to Senate Bill 2371, House Bill 1135, whichseeks to bar foreign governments and businesses they control from buyingagricultural land in the state, passed both the NorthDakota House and Senate . The bill has sincebeen sent to Gov. Doug Burgum.

House Bill 1503, which sought to prohibitforeign ownership of real property in North Dakota, passed the House 93-0 onFeb. 21, but failed45-2 during a Senate floor vote on March 20because of its similarities to Senate Bill 2371.

Four representatives were absent during Monday'sfloor vote.


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