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LA House Bill 238

Legislation

State: Louisiana
Signed: June 03, 2024

Effective: August 01, 2024
Chapter: Act No. 420

Summary

House Bill 238 clearly states that a Notary does not have a duty to investigate whether a party to immovable property (agricultural land) is a foreign adversary or prohibited foreign actor.

Affects

Creates Sections 3:3613 through 3:3619 in the Louisiana Revised Statutes.

Changes
  1. Clarifies that a Notary Public does not have a duty to make any investigation as to whether a party to a transaction involving immovable property is a foreign adversary or prohibited foreign actor, nor is liable for failing to identify that a party to a transaction involving immovable property is a foreign adversary or prohibited foreign actor.
Analysis

House Bill 238 restricts ownership of agricultural lands in Louisiana by foreign adversaries, defined as certain designated countries and any entities they control. It bars foreign adversaries and “prohibited foreign actors” (entities controlled by foreign adversaries) from directly or indirectly owning, acquiring, leasing, or obtaining any interest in agricultural land. There are exemptions, such as for foreign entities that have treaty rights to own U.S. land, or that acquire land as debt payment or collateral. The new law establishes penalties for violations, including civil fines, forced divestment of illegally acquired land, and court-ordered penalties, and outlines investigative and enforcement mechanisms for the Attorney General to identify violators. Part of the bill is the provision applicable to Notaries Public summarized under “Changes” above. The NNA believes this provision is very important. While Notaries in Louisiana have greater authority than do Notaries in other U.S. states, making Notaries responsible for investigating potential foreign adversaries is outside the scope of authority of even a Louisiana Notary.

Read House Bill 238.

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