Does national security trump personal property rights if it relates to adversaries like China or North Korea? That was the debate last night in the state Senate over a package about foreign ownership of land.

Under the latest version, a foreign entity would be banned from acquiring agricultural land in the state after August 28, 2023. Currently, 1% of land can be owned by foreign entities.

The discussion over the bill became heated, at times, as state Senators Bill Eigel and Lincoln Hough, both Republicans, turned it into a discussion of national security versus private property rights.

Eigel is of the opinion that, as it pertains to matters of national security, foreign adversaries shouldn’t be allowed to own land in the Show Me State, but Hough says the moves from the upper chamber is motivated by geopolitics. He adds that the Missouri Senate is removing a personal property owner’s right to sell their own land.

Republican Rick Brattin, who took up sponsorship of the bill package in the Senate, added to the conversation.

“As a business owner, I’m precluded from hiring people that are not legally here, even though some break the law and do that, and does that put me at a competitive disadvantage? Yes, it does, but at the same time, I’m protecting my countrymen and that comes to me, as a veteran, much higher and greater.”

Under the bill, foreign businesses who currently own land in Missouri would not have to sell their property. Also under the bill, an emergency clause was passed that make the bill go in effect upon a signature from Gov. Mike Parson.

Because of the changes made to the bill, it goes back to the House for consideration.

Click here for more information on the bill.

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