Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed two bills into law Monday, both with the intention of taking on communist China. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has left a lot to desire when it comes to challenging the biggest rival of the United States.
These bills were signed with the of stopping the spread of foreign influence in the state. They were signed at a press conference and DeSantis accompanied them with a fiery speech where he labeled China as an "adversary."
The first bill, HB7017, specifically calls out China by name in it. The second, HB 1523, does not, but DeSantis did call China out several times while discussing it.
Here are some highlights of HB 7017:
- Strengthens foreign financial connection vetting and disclosure requirements for entities seeking tax-payer funded grants or contracts from state agencies or political subdivisions.
- Creates heightened scrutiny of research grant applicants, foreign applicants for research positions, and foreign travel or activities of employees of major research institutions.
- Requires universities and colleges to disclose foreign donations and grants of $50,000 or more to the State University System Board of Governors or Department of Education. State agencies and political subdivisions are required to report foreign donations and grants of $50,000 or more to the Department of Financial Services.
- Prohibits specific agreements between state/public entities and the seven countries of concern (Russia, PRC, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela).
And some highlights of HB 1523 (Combatting Corporate Espionage in Florida Act):
- Creates new criminal offenses in Florida for the theft and trafficking of trade secrets.
- Anyone who willfully and without authorization steals or attempts to steal a trade secret and use it for their own benefit will now face a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Individuals attempting to sell stolen trade secrets will face a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison
- If an individual or entity violates this law on behalf of a foreign government, the penalties are severely enhanced — reclassifying the felony one degree higher and increasing the offense severity ranking.
Here is the press conference of DeSantis announcing the signing of the two new bills:
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