Arizona state House approves anti-BDS legislation

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Arizona state House of Representatives approved legislation that would bar state and local governments from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

The bill passed the House Monday by a vote of 42 to 16. The Arizona Senate passed the bill by a vote of 23-6 last week.

The bill is sponsored in the House by Republican Speaker David Gowan, who is running for Congress. He told the Arizona Capital Times that the legislation is about standing with “our dear friend in the Middle East.”

The pro-Israel organization StandWithUs praised the legislation in a statement. The bill “does not raise any 1st Amendment concerns because it does not in any way regulate, penalize, or infringe on anyone’s private speech or conduct. Private parties who wish to boycott Israel can continue to do so freely,” the group said in the statement.

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The legislation “exercises the state’s own right to choose the companies in which it will invest and with whom it will contract. Exercising such discretion with taxpayer funds is an important part of reinforcing economic interests, public policy and the basic ethical standards of government.

The legislation will become official when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signs it into law.

Colorado and Florida passed similar legislation earlier this month.

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