Rep. Sprague Votes For Anti-BDS Legislation
HB 476 strengthens Ohio's economic partnership with Israel

State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) this week voted for legislation that further expresses Ohio’s acknowledgement of Israel as a strong economic and diplomatic partner in the Middle East.

House Bill 476 bolsters the economic bonds between Ohio and Israel by prohibiting state agencies from entering into contracts with companies that are boycotting or disinvesting from Israel. Also known as “Anti-BDS” (boycott, divestment and sanction), HB 476 requires companies to explicitly state in such contracts declaring that they are not boycotting or disinvesting from Israel, an agreement that lasts through the duration of the contract.

“This legislation is meant to strengthen Ohio’s partnership with our country’s strongest ally in the War on Terror,” said Rep. Sprague. “When it benefits Ohioans, we need to take advantage of trade and investment in Israel.”

Sprague proposed an amendment that gives Ohio and its 88 counties more flexibility to balance risk and provide a greater return on investments, which will be beneficial to taxpayers. His proposal, which will ultimately enable county treasurers and the Treasurer of State to increase investments in specific bonds, will ensure the state and county portfolios continue to be diversified, while increasing returns and lowering risk.

In addition to balancing Ohio taxpayer risk, the language will enable the Treasurer of State and county Treasurers to make decisions that positively impact the United States’ top ally in the Middle East.

The amendment was approved and became a part of the House-passed version of the bill.

The legislation further defines that to boycott Israel is to refuse to engage in business or commercial activity with the Israeli government, a company operating in Israel or a company operating in territory controlled by Israel to protect the Israeli government.

House Bill 476 now awaits consideration in the Ohio Senate.

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