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Senators change bill to limit land sales in Texas after protests

AUSTIN (Nexstar) – A bill aimed at restricting the sale of Texas land to citizens from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran gathered in the Capitol on Thursday.

More than 100 testified during hearings on the Senate floor. Senate Bill 147Senator Lois Korkhorst, Blenheim Republican bill to address concerns of some senior Republican officials that foreign adversaries could jeopardize state interests by buying Texas land is intended for

SB 147, as originally filed, sought to prohibit individual citizens from purchasing Texas real estate. Critics of the bill said it could affect immigrants looking to buy a home while working through the years-long process of seeking citizenship.

Most of those who testified at Thursday’s hearing spoke out against the bill. One of them was Wei Li, who told lawmakers that he came to the US in 2006 and now works as a university professor. He said he is eligible to apply for citizenship later this month.

“It’s been 17 years since I moved to America,” he testified. “It’s been a long road, but in my heart I know I was already a Texan a long time ago. I can cook perfectly moist brisket. I know how to use ‘bless your heart.’ ”

“But SB 147 and SB 711 are my face. It mocks me,” he continued, his voice breaking. People like you don’t even deserve to own a home. ”

Similar concerns sparked a rally in the Capitol and criticism of Korkhorst’s bill. At Thursday’s hearing, she submitted a commission’s deputy to change the bill to allow home purchases.

“Listening to people, we met so many people, [heard] their concerns. That’s why we changed the bill,” he said Kolkhorst. She pointed out that many people who come to Texas from the four countries selected by the bill are fleeing hostile governments.

“You can buy a house. You don’t have to be a legal permanent resident or a citizen. Anyone can buy a house and a mansion,” Korghorst explained of the commission’s representatives she filed. .

Senator Korkhorst said national security is the focus of SB 147. She said the bill “represents national security for our state and our country because of all the military bases and strategic refineries and the role that Texas plays in national security in many ways.” The aim is to ensure security,” he said. what we have here.

The bill has the support of prominent Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott. After the bill’s changes, Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCall, who chairs the House Foreign Relations Committee, sent a statement praising Korkhorst’s efforts.

“Texas has advocates like Senator Lois Korkhorst, thank you for working in the state legislature to protect our great state and its citizens from those who want to do us harm,” McCall said in a statement. ing.

The SB 147 is Lone Star Infrastructure Act Passed by the State Legislature in 2021. The bill would allow “acts of aggression against the United States, violations of human rights, theft of intellectual property, [and] It is one of the reasons why companies in these four countries are prohibited from connecting to power grids, water and chemical plants, telecommunications and cyber systems.

Houston Rep. Jean Wu voted for the Lone Star Infrastructure Act, but said SB 147 went too far.

Before Thursday’s hearing, he posted a photo on Twitter showing parts of the Texas Constitution. pointing out.

Korkhorst said the criticism led to important changes to the bill.

“Senate Bill 147, as amended, will allow anyone to purchase a home and declare it as their property,” Kolkhorst said.

“We’ve made changes, and that’s what’s great about America and Texas is that we get together and talk about free speech, being able to testify against legislation,” she said.

https://www.kxan.com/state-of-texas/weve-made-changes-senator-responds-to-backlash-over-bill-restricting-texas-land-sales/ Senators change bill to limit land sales in Texas after protests

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