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House passes bill banning Chinese citizens, entities from purchasing property in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – After more than an hour of debate, considerable opposition and a significant amendment, a bill to prohibit Chinese citizens, entities and government bodies from purchasing property in Alabama passed in the Alabama House Tuesday with a vote of 73-23, with six abstaining.

The bill is known as the Alabama Property Protection Act and would prohibit property purchases in the state by any Chinese government entity, citizen, or company that is either headquartered in China, controlled by the government, or has a majority of its stock owned by Chinese citizens.

The bill makes no exceptions for those with dual citizenship in the United States and China, though does grandfather in Chinese citizens who have already purchased property in the state, allowing them to keep their property but not purchase more.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, who upon presenting his bill on the House floor, was immediately met with opposition from Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham.

“Please, representative, tell me how this bill is not targeting a certain race and how this bill is not violating fair housing and federal law,” Hollis said.

“This is a protection bill from a communist country purchasing land in the state of Alabama,” Stadthagen responded.

Stadthagen said 14 other states have enacted similar laws prohibiting or outright banning certain property purchases by Chinese entities, and have not faced any legal challenges.

The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1968 includes a provision commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, which protects people from discrimination when renting or purchasing property on the basis of race, national origin and other factors. Whether Stadthagen’s bill violates the Civil Rights Act is unclear, however, legal experts have weighed in on the topic and argued that such laws are unlikely to survive legal challenges in court.

Another opponent of the bill was Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Saraland, who brought up concerns over the potential impact on businesses owned by Chinese citizens or entities that wanted to expand through the purchase of additional property.

“They would have to get a (U.S.) citizen to purchase that property,” Stadthagen said.

Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Saraland, questions Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R-Hartselle, about his bill banning Chinese citizens and entities from purchasing property in Alabama.

Bracy then asked Stadthagen if Continental Aerospace Technologies, an aircraft engine manufacturer near his district in Mobile that is owned by the Chinese government, would be denied an expansion under his proposed bill.

“Correct,” Stadthagen said, “it would.”

“I don’t think the intent of this is to cripple a company like this,” Bracy said. “I think the intent of this legislation would be to target something more specific.”

“It’s targeting communism,” Stadthagen said. “It’s targeting communist countries that pose a threat to our country.”

While three House Republicans spoke out in support of the bill, one Republican – Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley – voiced concerns that the bill could inadvertently affect citizens and entities of Taiwan, which the Chinese government today considers a part of its country. The United States has remained neutral on the topic, neither recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign country nor as an official part of China.

Rep. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, brought up concerns similar to Bracy’s regarding the Continental Aerospace Technologies and their ability to expand under the bill. Drummond asked Stadthagen if he would accept an amendment excluding existing businesses from his proposal. He did.

Lawmakers work to craft an amendment to Rep. Scott Stadthagen’s bill.


The amendment, introduced by Rep. Ben Robbins, R-Sylacauga, excludes from the property purchase restrictions citizens and entities of Taiwan, as well as existing Chinese businesses, allowing them to expand and purchase more property.

The amendment was approved, with the bill passing the House along party lines with a vote of 73-23, with six abstaining.

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