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Bill toughening restrictions on foreign ownership of Iowa land advances

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(The Center Square) – A bill that would strengthen laws on foreign ownership of Iowa farmland was approved by a House subcommittee Thursday.

Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed House Study Bill 663.

“It would require additional information from entities on mandatory reports filed with the secretary of state each year, including complete ownership structure for an entity and a complete list of landholdings in the United States over 250 acres,” Molly Severn, Reynold’s legislative liaison, told the three-member panel. “It would enhance enforcement by granting the attorney general subpoena powers to further investigate suspected wrongdoing, ensuring that bad actors are exposed and held accountable.”

Financial penalties for failing to register with the secretary of state would also be increased for any entity that falsifies reports, Severn said.

Reynolds said during her Condition of the State address that China is getting more aggressive in acquiring U.S. agricultural land.

“To that end, working in conjunction with Secretary of Agriculture Secretary (Mike) Naig, we’ve developed a bill to further protect our farmland from foreign interests,” Reynolds said. “This legislation will enhance reporting and enforcement, increase penalties, and provide more transparency to Iowans on what land is currently under foreign ownership.”

The bill now goes to the full House State Government Committee for consideration.

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