Existing law provides that all property has an owner, whether that owner is the state, and the property is public, or the owner is an individual, and the property is private.
Existing law, the California Emergency Services Act, establishes the Office of Emergency Services, which is responsible for the state's emergency and disaster response services for natural, technological, or man-made disasters and emergencies, among other duties.
This bill would prohibit a foreign government from purchasing, acquiring, leasing, or holding a controlling interest, as defined, in agricultural land within the State of California. The bill would exempt land held by foreign governments before January 1, 2024, from that prohibition. The bill would provide that land transferred in violation of these provisions would be subject to divestiture, as specified.
Existing federal law requires any foreign person, defined to include foreign governments, who acquires or transfers any interest, other than a security interest, in agricultural land to submit to the United States Secretary of Agriculture a report containing specified information relating to, among other things, the type of interest the foreign person acquired or transferred and their legal name, address, and citizenship or country in which they are created or organized. Existing federal law requires the secretary every 6 months to transmit to each state department of agriculture a copy of each report that was submitted to the secretary in the most recent 6-month period and that involved agricultural land located in that state.
This bill would require the Office of Emergency Services, in consultation with the appropriate boards or departments and based on the above-described reports from the United States Secretary of Agriculture, and other information the office deems appropriate, to compile an annual report containing, among other information, the total amount of agricultural land that is under foreign ownership, how that land is currently being put to use, and any legislative, regulatory, or administrative policy recommendations in light of the information from the annual report. The bill would require the office to publish the inaugural annual report on its website by December 31, 2024, and by March 31 every year thereafter. The bill would require the office to deliver copies of any recommendations for legislative policy changes contained in the report to the Governor and the Assembly and Senate Committees on Agriculture. The bill would require the office to be reimbursed for costs incurred for compiling data, printing, and mailing the report, as specified. The bill would make its provisions operative upon appropriation by the Legislature.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.