Kansas State lawmakers voted 116 to 9 last week in the House and 36 to 3 in the Kansas State Senate last Wednesday to ban the state from conducting any business with firms that cooperate with the Boycott, Divest & Sanctions campaign against Israel.
House Bill 2409 requires written certification from companies and individuals proving they are not participating in boycotts against the Jewish State and “territories under its jurisdiction,” including those in Judea, Samaria and anywhere else that came under Israeli rule after 1967. It blocks the state from contracting services, supplies, information technology or construction with anyone engaged in the boycott, and prevents the state from adopting a procurement, investment or other policy that includes such a boycott.
“Israel is a strong trade partner with Kansas and any company openly boycotting Israel and its products is perpetuating an act of economic warfare against a Kansas trade partner and ally,” said Gardner Republican Representative Bill Sutton.
However, the bill includes an amendment allowing the State Secretary of Administration to waive the law if he or she “determines that compliance is not practicable or in the best interest of the state,” according to the Topeka Capital-Journal (CJOnline).
Democratic Representative Boog Highberger of Lawrence said although he did not oppose the section preventing the state from boycotting Israel, he did oppose the section requiring state contractors “to provide a certificate of political correctness, because I think that puts us on a very slippery slope and may well be unconstitutional,” he told CJOnline.
The measure now goes to Kansas State Governor Sam Brownback for his signature.