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Anti-BDS Bill Unanimously Passes Florida Senate

The Florida  State Senate in Tallahassee yesterday unanimously passed on Third Reading an anti-BDS bill SB 38 on “scrutinized companies” directed at companies boycotting Israeli companies.  See the Florida Senate Legislation Tracker for the tally of those State Senators who cast the unanimous vote. The ‘scrutinized companies” Florida legislation would:

Require the State Board of Administration to identify all companies that are boycotting Israel or are engaged in a boycott of Israel in which the public fund owns direct or indirect holdings by a specified date; requiring the public fund to create and maintain the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List that names all such companies; prohibiting a state agency or local governmental entity from contracting for goods and services that exceed a specified amount if the company has been placed on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List.

The legislation is modeled on one that passed in South Carolina, last session in Columbia, spearheaded by State Rep. Alan Clemmons. It has the support of the Israel Allies Foundation in Washington, which is seeking to see it adopted in other jurisdictions across the US. A companion bill, in the Florida House HR 527 passed its first stop, the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Wednesday, January 20, 2015.  The Florida anti-BDS legislation has the support of the Florida Christian Families Coalition.

Listeners to the weekly Lisa Benson Show that airs Sunday on KKNT 960 The Patriot out of Phoenix heard South Carolina Rep. Clemmons discuss the model legislation during an interview on December 6, 2015. LISTEN to the podcast here.

The AP had this report on the progress of the Florida anti-BDS legislation, “Boycott of companies that boycott Israel sought in Florida:”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida wouldn’t be able to invest in companies that boycott Israel under a bill unanimously passed by the state Senate.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would force the State Board of Administration to identify companies that boycott Israel and then notify them they are on a “scrutinized companies” list. The board is responsible for managing the state’s retirement fund.

If the companies continue to boycott Israel, the board would not be allowed to invest in those companies.

It would also place limits on state agencies from contracting with companies on the list.

A similar House bill has two more committee stops before it’s ready for a floor vote.

RELATED ARTICLE: Israel and Florida: A Strong and Growing Economic Partnership

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.