House Anti-BDS Legislation Now Law, Speaker Turzai Says
HARRISBURG – The Department of General Services will be prohibited from entering into contracts with any entity engaged in an economic boycott against Israel under legislation authored by Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter), co-sponsored by Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and today signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is one of the main vehicles for spreading anti-Semitism,” said Turzai. “It is in our best interest to stand with Israel by promoting trade and commercial activities and to discourage policies that disregard that interest.”

The bill addresses questions regarding public access to procurement records and awarding a contract to a single source, and contains anti-BDS language within the context of prohibited contracts.

The new law states that a company contracted by the Commonwealth is not permitted to be involved in a boycott, or to refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national affiliation of the person or entity.

Act 163 of 2016, formerly House Bill 2107, no longer seeks punitive measures against contractors who participate in boycott efforts against Israel. Instead, the law now says that contractors are forbidden from violating current state civil rights laws in the course of boycotting a sovereign nation recognized by the United States.

“Republicans and Democrats in the House have taken an historic step forward in the fight against prejudice,” said Turzai. “I am proud our state has chosen to stand on the right side of history, uphold our historic opposition to discrimination, and stand with one of America’s strongest allies.”

Pennsylvania is the 14th state to pass anti-BDS legislation.

Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Steve Miskin
717.772.9943 (office), 717.756.3936 (cell) / /

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