Lenovo’s Last Ditch Lobbying Fails as Senator McCay Successfully Restricts PRC Tech from Utah

In the wanning hours of the 2024 Utah legislative session, HB 404 – which would stop the state from purchasing tech manufactured by PRC-owned companies – was challenged on the floor of the Senate.

Senator Daniel McCay, the senate sponsor, successfully deflected an 11th hour attempt to weaken his bill. Here is how he explained the challenge:

One company is highly motivated… has hired a lobbyist, which is certainly within their right … we looked in procurement and since 2018 [the State of Utah has] spent more than $50 million with that company.

I can understand why they’re concerned about losing a $50 million deal or contract, but… the problems that we have as a country trying to secure our data and as a state… we would hate for that information to get back to a foreign entity that wants to spy.

Watch the debate here.

Senator McCay is referring to Lenovo which has received more than $51 million to install their products in school districts, universities, and even the Utah legislature (see CTT’s updated fact sheet). The Pentagon and individual military branches have stopped using Lenovo because of  “known cybersecurity risks” and because it is partially owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, an affiliate of China’s People’s Liberation Army. (Read more in CTT’s 2023 briefing paper).

Despite Lenovo’s lobbying, the weakening amendment was soundly defeated, and the bill overwhelmingly passed 25-2. The House then concurred with the technical amendments the Senate had adopted and then, on final voice votes of approval in both houses, the bill is now on the way to Governor Spencer Cox for his Signature.

Thank you to Senator Daniel McCay, Representative Candice Pierucci, and other members of the Utah legislature for standing up to PRC tech companies.