A invoice to ban state companies from contracting with corporations managed by hostile international pursuits — initially aimed toward Chinese language Communist Celebration associates — died within the state Senate Finance Committee.
The invoice, sponsored by Del. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, additionally would bar state staff or contractors from utilizing TikTok or WeChat on state-owned or leased gadgets or on state wi-fi networks, in addition to accessing any web site developed by the Chinese language corporations ByteDance Ltd. Or Tencent Holdings Ltd, in step with a December government order from Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
A narrower Senate invoice, targeted solely on TikTok and WeChat in addition to the web sites, handed the Senate on a 20-20 vote, with Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears breaking the tie.
Brewer’s invoice handed the Home initially on an primarily occasion line vote, with two Democrats — Fairfax’s Del. Dan Helmer, and Roanoke’s Del. Sam Rasoul — becoming a member of Home Republicans in assist, after the Home adopted Helmer’s modification broadening the invoice to use to international adversaries designated by the U.S. Division of Commerce and never simply to Chinese language government-controlled entities. However when the Home reconsidered the measure, it handed 99-0.
“It was simply the governor taking part in politics with nationwide safety,” Helmer mentioned of the unique invoice. He mentioned his modification was aimed toward focusing the invoice on nationwide safety reasonably than on China.
When the measure got here earlier than the Finance Committee, state Sens. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax Metropolis, and John Edwards, D-Roanoke, mentioned it could possibly be arduous to trace down international adversary possession, particularly if smaller expertise corporations change palms.
“If you happen to’re going to adjust to this, you’re going to need to have some fairly sensible folks do it,” Edwards mentioned.
Senate Minority Chief Tommy Norment, R-James Metropolis, mentioned he has had a case the place a problem of international possession arose, including that “with persistence, you will discover this.”
State Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bathtub, mentioned he was involved in regards to the a part of the invoice that named particular corporations.
“I’m in favor of this however there’s a correct option to do it,” Deeds mentioned, afterward.
“This handed on a bipartisan foundation,” an indignant Brewer mentioned afterward “I feel that is taking part in politics with nationwide safety.”
Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for Youngkin, mentioned in an announcement: “Simply final week fighter jets scrambled from Virginia shot down a Chinese language spy balloon. Given the Chinese language authorities’s current public makes an attempt to spy on Individuals, Virginia Democrats’ willingness to show a blind eye to the CCP’s invasive ways is surprising. Cybersecurity and nationwide safety threats from the Chinese language authorities are actual.”
Throughout his State of the Commonwealth deal with, Youngkin referred to as on the Basic Meeting to enact a measure barring Chinese language Communist Celebration corporations from buying Virginia farmland.
After the speech, he mentioned he had pulled Virginia out of the competition for a $3.5 billion Ford Motor Co. battery plant as a result of the automaker deliberate to function it in partnership with a Communist Celebration managed agency.
The plant is slated to make use of at the least 2,500 folks. Earlier than Youngkin pulled the plug, state financial growth officers hoped to get Ford to construct the plant on the Berry Hill Mega Website in Pittsylvania County. Ford ultimately determined to construct the manufacturing facility in Michigan.