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Tipsheet

DeSantis Takes Aggressive Action to Counter CCP Influence in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed three bills to ‘crack down’ on the Chinese Communist Party’s influence in Florida. 

One bill, SB 264, focuses on limiting the Chinese purchase of agricultural land and land near military installations and critical infrastructure. SB 846, meanwhile, addresses Chinese influence in the state’s educational system. And SB 258 protects digital data from CCP espionage. 

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SB 264, Interests of Foreign Countries, restricts governmental entities from contracting with foreign countries and entities of concern and restricts conveyances of agricultural lands and other interests in real property to foreign principals, the People’s Republic of China, and other entities and persons that are affiliated with them. It also amends certain electronic health record statutes to ensure that health records are physically stored in the continental U.S., U.S. territories, or Canada.

SB 846, Agreements of Educational Entities with Foreign Entities, prohibits state colleges and universities and their employees and representatives from soliciting or accepting any gift in their official capacities from a college or university based in a foreign country of concern. It also prohibits state colleges and universities from accepting any grant from or participating in any agreement or partnership with any college or university based in a foreign country of concern. A state college or university may only participate in a partnership or agreement with a college or university based in a foreign country of concern if authorized by the Board of Governors or the State Board of Education. The bill also prohibits the ownership or operation of any private school participating in the state’s school choice scholarship program by a person or entity domiciled in, owned by, or in any way controlled by a foreign country of concern.

SB 258 requires the Department of Management Services to create a list of prohibited applications owned by a foreign principal or foreign countries of concern, including China, which present a cybersecurity and data privacy risk. The bill requires government and educational institution to block access to prohibited applications on all government servers and devices in Florida and requires public employers to retain the ability to remotely wipe and uninstall these dangerous applications from government issued devices. (Governor's Office)

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The governor’s office said the measures to protect Americans from foreign threats serve as a blueprint for other states.  

“Florida is taking action to stand against the United States’ greatest geopolitical threat — the Chinese Communist Party,” Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “I’m proud to sign this legislation to stop the purchase of our farmland and land near our military bases and critical infrastructure by Chinese agents, to stop sensitive digital data from being stored in China, and to stop CCP influence in our education system from grade school to grad school. We are following through on our commitment to crack down on Communist China.”

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