Noem's China-inspired ag land panel gets early blessing from hesitant Senate committee
Committee keeps bill alive to give governor time to address litany of concerns raised by opposition
Farm groups, banking organization and realtor associations aren’t on board with a plan to give Gov. Kristi Noem veto powers over private land transactions involving agricultural land and foreigners.
But their concerns about unintended consequences, government interference and market volatility that could come with the creation of what’s being called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) — South Dakota are outweighed by national security threats that demand action now, according to lawmakers who gave their stamp of approval to the governor’s proposal Tuesday.
“This is an issue that we cannot leave in the hands of the federal government,” Sen. Erin Tobin told her colleagues on the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which unanimously recommended approval of Senate Bill 185. “And when I go back to my district, those people feel the same way. We owe it to them to dig through this and figure it out.”
The measure would create the seven-member board that would vet land swaps involving foreign entities before making a recommendation to the governor’s office, which would decide whether to allow the transaction to go through.
And though it earned resounding support in committee, some senators who agreed to move the legislation ahead did so with the understanding that the points made by the groups in opposition during more than an hour of public testimony will be addressed in the bill before final passage.
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