Following the close of Texas’ regular legislative session, a new poll shows that most Texas Republican voters want the governor to address foreign ownership of state land.

At the end of the 88th regular legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session to focus on border security and property tax relief.

During special sessions, lawmakers can only focus on issues the governor deems a priority.

To fulfill Abbott’s priorities, the Texas House approved a property tax relief measure as well as the requested border security measure, adjourning the first special session after just one day.

With the possibility of more special sessions looming, Texas voters are calling on their elected officials to take up priority issues that were not addressed during the regular session.

A Defend Texas Liberty PAC poll asked Republican voters which issue they believed was the “most important” for legislators to debate during a special session. The poll gave voters four options: school choice, E-Verify for employers, banning Chinese nationals from purchasing land, and prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Of the polltakers, 49 percent said preventing Chinese nationals from buying Texas land was the most important issue.

Nineteen percent of the respondents prioritized school choice, while 11 percent selected banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Only 9 percent of voters chose mandating E-Verify for employers, with 12 percent saying they were unsure which issue they believe is most important.

During the regular legislative session, the Texas House allowed legislation to ban Chinese nationals from purchasing state land to languish in committee.

Senate Bill 147 by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) would have banned the ownership of Texas agricultural land or mineral interests by citizens, companies, or governmental entities of countries the federal government deemed threats to national security. The bill made exceptions for lawful permanent residents and dual citizens of the United States and a foreign country.

“The past several years have seen more Texans alarmed by the increased acquisition of land by primarily Chinese interests,” Kolkhorst said after filing the bill. “The growing ownership of Texas land by some foreign entities is highly disturbing and raises red flags for many Texans. By comparison, as an American, go try to buy land near a Chinese military base and see how it works out for you.”

Abbott promised to sign Kolkhorst’s bill into law if the measure reached his desk.

Although the Senate approved SB 147 and referred the legislation to the House State Affairs Committee, the bill never received a hearing and died in the House.

The DTL poll also asked voters if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont). Just 15 percent of respondents reported having a “very unfavorable” opinion, and 5 percent said they have a somewhat unfavorable view. Another 5 percent said they had a favorable opinion of Phelan, and yet another 5 percent said they held a very favorable opinion.

Of the remaining respondents, 24 percent said they had no opinion of the speaker, and 45 percent said they had never heard of Phelan.

The full poll can be viewed here.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.