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Israel Anti-Boycott Measure Passes Illinois Legislature 102-0, Heads to Governor for Signature

A bill that would prohibit the Illinois state pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives Monday by a vote of 102-0.

The synopsis of the bill, SB1761, reads:

Amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Prohibits a State agency from entering into a contract subject to the Code with a business that boycotts Israel. Amends the General Provisions Article of the Illinois Pension Code. Requires each of the 5 State-funded retirement systems (or the Illinois State Board of Investment where applicable) to make its best efforts to identify all companies that boycott Israel in which it has direct or indirect holdings and, under certain circumstances, to divest itself of holdings in those companies.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced on Twitter his intent to sign the bipartisan measure when it is brought before him.

The Illinois Senate version of the bill was passed unanimously in April. Last week it unanimously passed a vote of the House Executive Committee.

In a recent commentary written for The Chicago Tribune, Jay Tcath, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, explained the significance of the bill and its broad-based support.

Illinois is doing the right thing by requiring the state’s pension system to shun companies that refuse to do business with Israel. Many other states will likely follow suit.

In politically polarized Springfield, this bill enjoys uncommon common ground. Its sponsors represent both political parties, urban and rural districts and include Latino, African-American and Arab-American legislators. It allows Illinois to stand with our ally, align our values with our investments and level the playing field for American companies competing with foreign counterparts.

[Photo: Justin Brockle / Flickr ]