Stitt signs controversial bill that prohibits Israel boycotts

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR/AP) – Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a controversial bill that prohibits state contracts with companies that boycott Israel.

House Bill 3967 states that Oklahoma shall not enter into contracts with companies that advocate boycotts, divestments or sanctions against Israel. The bill’s author, Rep. Mark McBride of Moore, says the bill recognizes Israel as an important trading partner and ally in the Middle East.

On Thursday, Gov. Stitt signed the measure into law.

In March, attorneys with the Oklahoma chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and Council on American-Islamic Relations warned that the measure is unconstitutional.

Mike Redman, the interim director of ACLU of Oklahoma, said the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that economic and political boycotts are a form of political speech enshrined and protected by the First Amendment.

“The ACLU has a long history of challenging this type of legislation,” Redman said.

Federal judges in Arizona, Kansas and Texas have blocked similar laws from taking effect, while a judge in neighboring Arkansas let a similar law stand.

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