Image Credit: State Representative John Ragan / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –
Two new bills have been filed for the 2024 General Assembly that all but prohibit the ability of certain foreign entities to do business in or with the state of Tennessee.
Additionally, foreign agents from certain countries will be required to register with the Attorney General’s office if they have entered the U.S. with intentions to act on behalf of those countries in any way with full disclosure of all activities while in the state.
The first, will essentially prohibit a foreign adversary to directly do business with the state of Tennessee or any of its political subdivisions.
Further, it requires that any business that does attempt to submit a bid for a contract with the state, disclose any previous activities it may have engaged in with those countries that the state has deemed ineligible.
Failure to be transparent on the part of entities that do submit a bid or an offer to supply a product or service to the state or any of its political subdivisions will incur a steep financial penalty.
House Bill 1841 (HB1841), submitted by Representative John Ragan (R-D33-Oak Ridge), states, “As introduced, prohibits certain foreign entities from submitting bids for contracts with the state or a political subdivision of the state; requires entities bidding on contracts to make certain disclosures and certifications related to the entities’ business relationship with certain foreign entities; provides for civil penalties if the disclosures or certifications are false.”
Nationally, there are over a dozen other states in the US that have enacted laws against foreign entities engaging in contracts that include large business transactions, namely real estate.
The second bill also carried by Ragan, House Bill 1840 (HB1840) appears to establish a requirement for any and all persons from a “country of concern” to reveal themselves and register with the Attorney General’s office and report all their intended activities and any other information that will enable full transparency of those persons and their purpose for coming to Tennessee.
HB1840 states, “Attorney General and Reporter – As introduced, requires foreign agents from certain countries of concern to register with the attorney general and reporter. – Amends TCA Title 3; Title 4; Title 8; Title 48; Title 61 and Title 62.”
There is also specificity in the bill with relation to political activities that may be engaged in by this person, and prohibitions on such activity.
A “country of concern” according to the language of the bill means ” the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Cuba, the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, the Syrian Arab Republic, or another entity or country so deemed by the governor in consultation with the attorney general and reporter”.
The only exemptions for those who would not need to register would be those who are accredited diplomatic or consular officers of a foreign government and their staff, or an official of a foreign government if that government is recognized by the United States, or anyone who is qualified to practice law in the state of Tennessee and are engaging in legal representation.
The law is retroactive starting in 2014 through this year and would require anyone who has visited the state of Tennessee in such a capacity, to register and record all activities to become part of the official record.
All information would then be transmitted to the federal government for their review and determination of validity.
The bills do not yet have a senate sponsor but were filed for introduction on 1/11 just before the General Assembly let out for the long weekend.
About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member. Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.