Georgians rally to sign up for affordable health care plans amid split over Medicaid expansion

Lawmakers in the Georgia House fought hard on Thursday for a Senate bill that would bar foreign adversaries from buying farmland in Georgia before finally passing the controversial legislation.

Senate Bill 420, which passed the House 97-67, now heads to Governor Brian Kemp for his signature.

SB 420, sponsored by Senator Jason Anavitarte, aims to keep Georgia’s farmland out of the hands of countries the US government has deemed adversaries. It also prevents these adversaries from buying land near Georgia’s 13 military bases. The bill is an effort to protect the nations food supply and national security. Agriculture is Georgia’s #1 industry.

But opponents called the bill xenophobic, insisting it will do more harm than good. It will invariably fuel anti-immigrant sentiment and discriminate against American citizens, particularly those of Asian descent, opponents said. China and North Korea are two of the six foreign adversaries. The others are Cuba, Russia, Iran and the Venezuelan politician Nicols Maduro (the Maduro regime).

Opponents also argued that the bill violates the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses, and will likely invite lawsuits and federal fair housing challenges similar to those currently facing Florida. Last month, a federal court blocked a Florida law barring Chinese citizens from owning property in that state.

In fact, this is just one of five bills we’ve seen introduced this term with the goal of weaponizing racism, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiment while cloaking it in the cloak of national security and patriotism. , Rep. Michell Au, D-Johns Creek, said Thursday.

Rep. Clay Pirkle, R-Ashburn, said he had been working on the bill for two years and that legislative counsel has thoroughly reviewed it to make sure it does not violate fair housing laws or discriminate against anyone who live here It ensures that those who want to come here legally and pursue the American dream can do so.

why does it matter

Clumsy bills like this make the classic mistake of conflating immigrants with the countries they’re from, said Au, the American daughter of Chinese-American immigrants. In my two terms in the Georgia General Assembly, I have personally been accused of being an agent of the Chinese Communist Party, a spy, a plant, a non-US and foreign asset. And that’s just this week.

Rep. Sam Park, D-Lawrenceville, pointed out that the bill is full of loopholes that provide exceptions for agents or companies from countries deemed adversaries to lease land to develop and grow crops and for experimental agricultural research.

Rep. Derrick Jackson, D-Tyrone, said the bill would ultimately limit taxpayer dollars in litigation that goes against federal law, state law as citizens sue for housing discrimination .

In terms of national security?

I asked myself: Where is the national security risk? I don’t see that in this bill, said Jackson, a 22-year Navy veteran who worked at the Pentagon. I see this as a way to discriminate and violate federal law.

Supporters insist the bill is neither racist nor a violation of federal housing laws. It’s simply about protecting national security, they say.

As a nation, we have the ability to produce the highest quality, cheapest, most affordable and most abundant food supply anywhere in the world, said Rep. Steven Meeks, R-Screven. We can only do it on the lands we have. Land we control. What this is about is our ability to continue feeding ourselves. Take a look around the world. And look at those countries that have been blockaded where food cannot enter. I don’t have to tell you what’s going on. You know. This bill is only about Americans being able to feed them. end of story Because if we can’t feed ourselves, we can’t defend ourselves.

What’s next?

If the bill is signed into law, Georgia will join about two dozen other states that have enacted laws that severely limit or prohibit foreign ownership of US land.

How likely is the governor to sign SB 420?

It would have to go through our bill review process and, once that is complete, make an announcement whether it will be signed or vetoed, said the governor’s spokesman, Garrison Douglas. State Affairs.

With Sine Die a week away, the governor is expected to see more bills cross his desk. He has 40 days after the session to sign the law.

To see the bills the governor has already signed, go here.

Do you have questions? Contact Tammy Joyner at X @lvjoyner oh [email protected].

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