Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed two bills designed to curb foreign influence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and other foreign entities in state agencies and educational institutions. This legislation could be a significant step towards preventing foreign interests from manipulating U.S. policy.
“There is no single entity that exercises a more pervasive, nefarious influence across a wide range of American industries and institutions than the Communist Party of China,” DeSantis said while addressing reporters at the Florida National Guard Robert A. Ballard Armory in Miami.
The governor continued, explaining that foreign actors will not be able to infiltrate Florida’s institutions. “Not the Communist Party of China, not Russia, not Cuba, not North Korea, not Iran, not Syria, not Venezuela. In fact, the first bill signed today safeguards our public institutions from undue foreign influence, and that means prohibiting agreements between public entities and the Communist Party of China or Cuba or any of these other malignant forces,” he said.
One of the bills, called the “Combating Corporate Espionage in Florida Act,” will result in second-degree felony charges for “trafficking in trade secrets.” Individuals discovered to have sold trade secrets to foreign governments would be facing a first-degree felony.
The other piece of legislation would require entities soliciting grants or contracts from the state to report receiving gifts “from any foreign source” that exceeds $50,000.
Both bills were unanimously passed in the state legislature.
According to Tampa Bay Times:
People and entities seeking grants or contracts from the state of more than $100,000 will be required to disclose contracts, donations or grants linking them to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria.
State universities and other entities with research budgets of $10 million or more also will have to create an “international travel approval and monitoring program” under the measure.
The new legislation would also ban entities like Confucius Institutes on universities. DeSantis also explained that the bill “also makes sure we don’t make deals with private companies that are closely tied to these adversaries” and would ensure that foreign entities seeking to engage with higher learning institutions
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