CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — A bill that would ban the purchase of West Virginia natural resources, farmland and property by citizens of the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and others on the State Department’s Countries of Concern list during tax sales has passed in the State Senate.

The bill passed in the Senate unanimously and will now head to the House of Delegates.

It was introduced at the request of State Auditor JB McCuskey.

Today, the West Virginia Senate took a bold and unanimous step to protect West Virginia. This bill, which we have worked closely on with the Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Kent Leonhardt, will ensure our farmland and mineral interests are not purchased through our tax sale by countries like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia, who want to do us harm. Now, I’m optimistic that the House will follow the Senate’s lead to quickly pass this important piece of legislation to send a strong message to these countries of concern that they are not welcome in West Virginia.

State Auditor JB McCuskey

The bill would require potential bidders to register with the State Auditor’s office in advance. The Auditor’s office would have the power to deregister or refuse to register a potential bidder who:

  • Has failed to make a payment owed at a prior auction held pursuant to this section.
  • At the time of registration is delinquent in the payment of real property taxes to any county in this state.
  • At the time of registration is subject to legal proceedings in any county or municipality that are related to code enforcement violations regarding real property owned by him or her.
  • Within the preceding five years prior to the auction, has failed to comply with a valid raze or repair order (or any other similar order) issued by a county or municipality.