Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday new executive actions and legislative proposals to combat the Chinese Communist Party and other hostile nations’ influence in the state.
DeSantis’ actions are aimed to prevent threats posed by China, Cuba, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela in academia, cyber security, and real estate, and seek to stop the nations from engaging in espionage or influence operations within Florida’s borders.
“From server farms to farmland, the Communist Party of China has been worming its way into our nation’s data storage systems and buying up tracts of land near sensitive national security sites,” said DeSantis in a statement. “By prohibiting the purchase of lands, state contracts with Chinese technology firms, and the infiltration of CCP-affiliated groups such as Confucius Institutes, Florida is leading the way to protect our nation from international foes.”
Effective immediately, the executive order prohibits government entities from acquiring “technology products and services from companies owned by, controlled by, or domiciled in foreign countries of concern.”
DeSantis also announced legislative proposals that would prohibit those countries from purchasing any land near U.S. military bases.
DeSantis also proposed new legislative action to amend a state law that would prohibit donations or gifts to educational institutions in Florida from individuals and government entities residing in hostile nations.
“The Chinese Communist Party cheats on trade, steals our intellectual property, and produces deadly drugs like fentanyl that are pouring into our southern border,” said Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. “Governor DeSantis’ announcements today are not only critical to protecting American interests and Florida farmlands but also to maintaining our national security. Florida will never kowtow to the oppressive regime of China.”
“With today’s Executive Order, Governor DeSantis takes decisive action to defend the State of Florida and all Floridians from the cyber threats posed by foreign countries of concern and associated groups,” Department of Management Services Secretary Pedro Allende said in a statement. “The Governor’s direction to develop cybersecurity and procurement rules and standards will make it harder for bad actors to gain a foothold on state infrastructure, will protect Floridians’ personal information and intellectual property, and will further secure key information systems and the critical infrastructure that our state and its citizens rely on each day.”
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis, Florida will not allow foreign adversaries and Communist dictatorships to have insights into some of the most sensitive data and cutting-edge research taking place in U.S. academia,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “As a Cuban-American, I know how Communist countries attempt to infiltrate schools and universities to steal intellectual property and indoctrinate young people with their dangerous and radical ideology. By removing this influence and focusing on the importance of American ideals and citizenship through civics education, Florida is again leading the way for the nation to follow.”