Kansas passes anti-BDS bill

Knasas becomes the 21st state to ban state from doing business with companies which boycott Israel.

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BDS graffiti sign
BDS graffiti sign
Photo: Miriam Alster / Flash 90

JTA - Both houses of the Kansas State Legislature have passed a bill that would bar the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

The bill still must be signed by state Gov. Sam Brownback, who is expected to do so, the Lawrence Journal World reported.

A final version of the bill passed both houses of the legislature on Wednesday. It first passed the Senate by a vote of 36-3 and few hours later passed the House by a vote of 99-13.

An amendment to the bill allows the state’s secretary of administration to waive the boycott law if the secretary “determines that compliance is not practicable or in the best interest of the state.”

The bill says the anti-BDS, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, legislation applies to Israel and “territories under its jurisdiction,” which means Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem.

In May, the Kansas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to lawmakers, saying the bill was an unconstitutional infringement on the right of free speech.

In 2016, Kansas exported $56.7 million in commodities to Israel and imported $83.7 million from Israel, according to the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Kansas will become at least the 21st state with laws or executive orders banning state business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel.