TEXAS — A bill that had been widely criticized as a racist assault on Texas’ Asian American and Pacific Islander communities has died after missing the deadline to reach the House floor.
A watered-down version of the bill passed the Senate last month and moved on to the Texas House of Representatives, where it fizzled out this weekend. House Speaker Dade Phelan opted not to hold a weekend hearing, rendering SB 147 and several other Senate proposals dead on arrival.
Concerns over Chinese land ownership in Texas intensified after lawmakers discovered that a Chinese real estate tycoon had acquired around 140,000 acres near Laughlin Air Force Base in Val Verde County.
Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst defended her proposal by citing a 2021 bill that banned companies from China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia from owning critical infrastructure in the state. Nevertheless, several Texas Democrats, including Representative Gene Wu, D-Houston, criticized Kolkhorst’s bill, labeling it as racist.
Opposition to the Senate bill gained momentum following Governor Greg Abbott’s tweet expressing his intent to sign the legislation if passed. Multiple organizations linked to Asian American and Pacific Islander communities organized rallies against the measure in major Texas cities, including Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
Stephanie Drenka, co-founder of the Dallas Asian American Historical Society, regarded the fight against the Texas bill as a significant moment in Asian American history.
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