By Camryn Sanchez | Arizona Capitol Times
Senate Republicans voted on Thursday to ban foreign groups from buying Arizona land but would not stop a land lease Saudi Arabia entered that allows the country to use Arizona groundwater for agriculture.
Democrats voted ‘no’ on Senate Bill 1115 which passed 16-14 after some debate between members and bill sponsor Sen. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale.
Lawmakers and their constituents are unhappy about Arizona’s deal with Saudi Arabia as the southwest navigates a severe drought, and as Arizona starts to take water cuts. Several proposals were introduced this year aimed at mitigating Saudi Arabia’s ability to use Arizona water.
In the bills’ government committee hearing, Sen. Janae Shamp, R-Surprise, noted that her constituents don’t want Saudi Arabian farms using up Arizona resources. However, this bill doesn’t affect land leases like that.