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Overview

Kentucky has an anti-boycott law in effect prohibiting state contracts of $100,000 or more with entities engaged in boycotts of jurisdictions where Kentucky enjoys “open trade.” The legislation followed a broader executive order signed by the governor in 2018. Kentucky also passed a non-binding resolution condemning BDS and falsely linking boycotts for Palestinian rights to rising antisemitism.

State Legislation

Legislation
SB 143
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
March 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read SB 143 

This anti-boycott law prohibits state contracts with entities that boycott persons or entities doing business with and in places where Kentucky enjoys “open trade.” The law requires written certification that the contractor is not and will not for the duration of the contract engage in such a boycott. The law is narrower than the anti-boycott executive order signed by the governor in 2018 and excludes individual contractors, those with fewer than five employees, and contracts valued at less than $100,000 from the requirements. Related bill: HB 195

Legislation
2018-905
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
January 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read 2018-905 

This anti-boycott executive order prohibits state contracts unless they include a written certification that the contractor is not and will not for the duration of the contract engage in a “boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with which Kentucky can enjoy open trade.” The preambular language makes clear that the order is aimed at punishing boycotts for Palestinian rights, falsely claiming that BDS campaigns targeting Israel’s human rights violations amount to unlawful discrimination. 

During the signing ceremony, the governor said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally asked him to sign the measure after the state legislature refused to pass similar legislation earlier that year.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 195
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
March 2019
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HB 195 

This anti-boycott law prohibits state contracts with entities that boycott persons or entities doing business with and in places where Kentucky enjoys “open trade.” The law requires written certification that the contractor is not and will not for the duration of the contract engage in such a boycott. Related bill: SB 143. 

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 350
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 350 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state investments in and state contracts with individuals and companies that engage in certain boycotts. Contractors must provide a written certification that they are not and will not for the duration of the contract engage in a boycott of “persons or businesses based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom Kentucky may enjoy open trade.” The bill provides exceptions for bids at least 20% less than other bids, and the contract prohibitions only apply to boycotts undertaken on a discriminatory basis, which would exclude boycotts for Palestinian rights.

The state investment prohibitions require the creation of a blacklist of foreign companies engaged in boycotts of Israel or companies based in Israel or territories it occupies. State retirement funds are required to divest from blacklisted companies. Related bill: HB 298

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 298
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
April 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 298 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with and state investment in companies that boycott Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill requires contractors to sign a written certification that they are not and will not for the duration of the contract engage in a boycott of Israel. It excludes contracts worth less than $100,000. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of companies that boycott Israel and territories occupied by Israel and prohibits public retirement systems from investing in these companies. Related bill: HB 350.

Resolutions

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HR 40
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
March 2019
Full Text
Read HR 40 

This non-binding resolution condemns boycott, divestment, and sanctions efforts, and academic boycotts, in particular. Claiming that BDS efforts are harmful to Jewish citizens of Kentucky and referencing the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting carried out by a white nationalist, the resolution falsely links boycotts for Palestinian rights to rising antisemitism. 

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