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5/11/2016 Rep. Ackerman introduces bill to create the Anti-Discrimination in State Contracts Act
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) has introduced the Anti-Discrimination in State Contracts Act.

The legislation (2016-H 7736) would prohibit public entities from entering into contracts with businesses that engage in the boycott of any business based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom the state can enjoy open trade.

The House Finance Committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday.

“Rhode Island is at a crossroads and we need to reinvigorate our economy,” Representative Ackerman told the panel. “This is especially true of new industries such as high-tech, science and medical and other knowledge-based industry.”

The legislation would effectively prohibit the state from investing in or contracting with companies that engage in boycotts of allies and trade partners of the United States, including the state of Israel.

“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.”

Speaking in favor of the bill was Joseph Sabag, a policy director from Washington, who flew in to testify on behalf of the legislation.

“The trend lately is not only to boycott businesses in Israel in terms of their exports, the trend is also to boycott businesses that do business with Israel but are domiciled here in the United States,” Sabag told the committee. “This is something you should think of in terms of defending the state’s economic interest and defending the state’s employment interests. This bill regulates commercial activity. It has no effect whatsoever on private activity.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Cale P. Keable (D-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester), K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence). 

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903