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Texas Becomes 17th State To Pass Law Outlawing BDS

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law on Tuesday that prohibited state agencies from contracting with companies that boycott Israel.

“You can always count on Texas,” Abbott said at the signing ceremony at the Austin Jewish Community Center. “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.”

The law, known as HB 89, charges the Texas Comptroller’s Office with making a list of “all companies that boycott Israel” and provide the list to state agencies. Those agencies will then be barred from contracting with those companies. State pension funds are also prohibited from being invested in firms involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

It also applies to individuals who do business with state agencies as they are often legally contractors.

The bill passed the state House 131-0 and the state Senate 25-4.

Texas is now the 17th state to pass such a law, with other such states ranging from California to South Carolina. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented a similar measure by executive order.

Civil liberties groups object to most of the laws, claiming they restrict companies or individuals from exercising their First Amendment rights to take a political stand against Israel or its occupation of Palestinian lands.

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter at @aidenpink.

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