Lawmakers throughout Oklahoma have heard concerns from many of our constituents about the purchase of large tracts of land by non-U.S. citizens and foreign business entities – those formed under the laws of foreign countries. In many instances, the property is paid for with large amounts of cash at above market prices, which locks out local farmers and ranchers and other state residents who want to purchase this land. Many of these tracts are being turned into marijuana growing ventures.
Of course, such individuals and entities can purchase land in the U.S., but this is occurring at an alarming rate throughout our state and others. The fear is the potential for underlying criminal activity and the threat that poses to U.S. safety and security and to the states where the land is purchased.
With this in mind, 50 other representatives and I sent a letter to the state’s Attorney General Mike Hunter voicing our support of his efforts to work with local and statewide law enforcement to track these questionable transactions and determine if illegal activity is in fact occurring.
The letter follows House Bill 1497, which prohibits property ownership by aliens from countries that ban United States citizens from owning property in that country. It passed in the House 88-5, and now awaits Senate approval.
Hunter is the chief law enforcement officer for the State of Oklahoma. If violations are occurring, it will be up to him to report it to any other federal or state entities with jurisdiction over such matters.
The other representatives and I will support Hunter’s compilation efforts in any way we can including encouraging our local law enforcement officers to cooperate with his office in gathering information to determine if further investigation is warranted by any other state or federal agency.
In the meantime, if I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or (405) 557-7327.
Marcus McEntire represents Oklahoma House District 50.