Thursday, March 09, 2023

State Senate votes to strengthen law against illegal foreign ownership of Oklahoma land

Senate votes to strengthen law against illegal foreign ownership of Oklahoma land

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 8th) – A measure to stop the illegal purchase of Oklahoma land passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday. Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, worked with the attorney general’s office in crafting Senate Bill 212 to keep non-U.S. citizens from directly or indirectly, through a business entity or trust, owning land in the state unless otherwise authorized by law.

“Oklahoma land is as rich for growing crops as it is with the heritage of hard-working people.  It is no wonder a lot of people want land here, including those from other countries,” Bullard said. “It is not an excuse to allow foreign nationals to buy up one of our most valuable resources, especially when they are cartels and from communist parties. We cannot continue to auction our state off to the highest criminal bidder.”

Currently, it is illegal for non-U.S. citizens to acquire or own land in Oklahoma, and if they acquire it “by devise or descent,” they must dispose of it within five years. Bullard’s bill addresses the common occurrence of foreigners utilizing “straw owners”, which can be individuals, businesses, or trusts, to fraudulently complete real estate transactions to get around the law. Under SB 212, any deed recorded with a county clerk will be required to include an affidavit executed by the person or entity coming into title attesting that they, the business entity, or trust are lawfully obtaining the land in compliance with Oklahoma law and that no funding source is being used in the sale or transfer in violation of any states’ laws or federal law. The attorney general would create a separate affidavit for individuals and for business entities or trusts to comply with this legislation. Businesses engaged in regulated interstate commerce in accordance with federal law would be exempt from this prohibition.

Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, is the principal House author of the bill, which will next be considered in the House.


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