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Overview

Pennsylvania has an anti-boycott law (HB 2107) in effect that prohibits state contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced numerous other anti-boycott bills and resolutions targeting advocacy for Palestinian rights. Several resolutions condemning boycotts for Palestinian rights and falsely linking them to rising antisemitism have passed.

State Legislation

Legislation
HB 2107
Status
In Effect
In Effect Since
October 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HB 2107 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state contracts with companies, including sole proprietorships, that boycott Israel. While the preambular language makes clear that the bill targets boycotts for Palestinian rights, the operative language is more general, prohibiting boycotts of “a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction which the Commonwealth is not prohibited by Congressional statute from engaging in trade or commerce.” The bill requires contractors to provide a written certification that they are not currently engaged in such discriminatory boycotts and will not engage in such boycotts for the duration of the contract. To register as a vendor with the state, companies must provide a certification form indicating that they are eligible to contract with the state under the terms of this bill. The penalty for false certification is the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of the contract. The bill provides an exception for contracts below an annually adjusted “small purchase” threshold (around $20,000 in 2020). The bill defines boycotts as those “based on race, color, religion, gender or national affiliation or origin of the targeted person or entity.” Related Legislation: HB 1986.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 1969
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
November 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HB 1969 

This anti-boycott law prohibits state contracts with persons, including individuals, for-profit companies, and multilateral development organizations, that engage in a boycott against or divestment from Israel. The law requires the creation of a blacklist of persons engaged in prohibited boycotts. State agencies may not enter into contracts with blacklisted persons. Contractors must provide written certification that they are not on the blacklist and are eligible to contract with the state under the terms of this bill. The penalty for false certification is the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of the contract in addition to a 3-year suspension of the contract. The bill defines boycotts as “[a]ctions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize Israel or otherwise limit commercial activities.” A similar bill (HB 1986) failed to pass in the previous session.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 1968
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
November 2018
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 1968 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state investments in companies that boycott Israel or companies based in Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of foreign companies that engage in such boycotts and requires state retirement funds and state funds of which the treasurer is custodian to divest direct holdings from blacklisted companies. The bill makes exceptions for companies providing humanitarian aid. A similar bill (HB 1987) failed to pass in the previous session.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 1987
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
November 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Investments
Full Text
Read HB 1987 

This anti-boycott bill prohibits state investments in companies that boycott Israel or companies based in Israel or territories occupied by Israel. The bill calls for the creation of a blacklist of foreign companies that engage in such boycotts and requires state retirement funds and state funds of which the treasurer is custodian to divest direct holdings from blacklisted companies. The bill makes exceptions for companies providing humanitarian aid.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 1986
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
November 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, State Contracts
Full Text
Read HB 1986 

This anti-boycott law prohibits state contracts with persons, including individuals, for-profit companies, and multilateral development organizations, that engage in a boycott against or divestment from Israel. The law requires the creation of a blacklist of persons engaged in prohibited boycotts. State agencies may not enter into contracts with blacklisted persons. Contractors must provide written certification that they are not on the blacklist and are eligible to contract with the state under the terms of this bill. The penalty for false certification is the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of the contract in addition to a 3-year suspension of the contract. The bill defines boycotts as “[a]ctions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize Israel or otherwise limit commercial activities.” Related Legislation: HB 2107.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
HB 1018
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
November 2016
Type(s)
Anti-boycott, Defunding
Full Text
Read HB 1018 

HB 1018 is an anti-boycott defunding bill that prohibits state funding to institutions of higher education that engage in boycotts or divestment efforts against Israel. The bill was introduced following resolutions by the Asian American Studies Association and American Studies Association endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s human rights violations. 

Resolutions

Legislation
HR 146
Status
Pending
Introduced
March 2019
Full Text
Read HR 146 

This non-binding resolution condemns BDS, finding it “to be an antisemitic political movement.” The resolution falsely links boycotts for Palestinian rights with rising antisemitism, referencing the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting carried out by a white nationalist. The resolution calls on all states to adopt anti-boycott laws like the one that Pennsylvania has in effect (HB 2107).

Legislation
SR 136
Status
Passed
Date Passed
September 2015
Full Text
Read SR 136 

SR 136 is a non-binding resolution condemning boycotts for Palestinian rights and academic boycotts, in particular. The resolution falsely claims that boycotts for Palestinian rights have contributed to rising antisemitism and have resulted in intimidation of Jewish students on college campuses. The resolution urges the state attorney general to explore whether BDS efforts violate state laws, including those related to antitrust, hate crimes, business torts, and other matters. Related Legislation: HR 370.

Legislation
HR 370
Status
Passed
Date Passed
June 2015
Full Text
Read HR 370 

HR 370 is a non-binding resolution condemning boycotts for Palestinian rights and academic boycotts, in particular. The resolution falsely claims that boycotts for Palestinian rights have contributed to rising antisemitism and have resulted in intimidation of Jewish students on college campuses. Related Legislation: SR 136.

Legislation
HR 627
Status
Passed
Date Passed
March 2014
Full Text
Read HR 627 

HR 627 is a non-binding resolution that condemns the American Studies Association’s 2013 resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of international law. The resolution notably and falsely labels the ASA’s boycott “an intolerable, anti-Semitic, base form of bigotry and hatred” and calls on all of South Carolina’s colleges and universities not to participate in academic boycotts. Related Legislation: SR 279.

Defeated Legislation

Legislation
SR 279
Status
Defeated
Defeated On
November 2014
Full Text
Read SR 279 

SR 279 is a non-binding resolution that condemns the American Studies Association’s 2013 resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in Israel’s violations of international law. The resolution notably and falsely labels the ASA’s boycott “an intolerable, anti-Semitic, base form of bigotry and hatred” and calls on all of Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities not to participate in academic boycotts. Related Legislation: HR 627.

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