Rhode Island passes anti-BDS measure with eye on energizing state’s economy

By Paul Miller, Originally published in JNS.org

In a 65-4 vote, the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed legislation prohibiting the state from contracting with companies that participate in boycotts of allies and trade partners of the United States—most notably, Israel.

HB 7736 passed the Rhode Island House on June 16 and received unanimous support two days later in the state’s Senate. Governor Gina Raimondo is expected to sign the measure later this week.

Rhode Island’s measure against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was introduced by State Rep. Mia Ackerman (D), the House’s deputy majority leader, and received overwhelming bipartisan support in one of the country’s most Democrat-heavy states.

“Rhode Island is at a crossroads and we need to reinvigorate our economy. This is especially true of new industries such as high-tech, science and medical and other knowledge-based industry,” said Ackerman. “Today’s interdependent global economy requires that trade policy be developed both at the national and state level. One of our greatest trading allies is the State of Israel, the only democratic, non-discriminatory country in the Middle East.”

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