House Bill 476 passed the Ohio House of Representatives Nov. 29 during a general session meeting. 

The bill was approved by an 81-13 vote. Five members did not vote. 

The bill was introduced to the Ohio House Feb. 24. If approved by the state legislature, it would prohibit a state agency from contracting with a company that’s boycotting or disinvesting from Israel and require companies to explicitly state in contracts declaring they are not boycotting or disinvesting from Israel, an agreement that would last throughout the duration of the contract.

Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, is the primary sponsor of the bill. There are 13 co-sponsors, including Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville. 

“Our state’s relationship with Israel generates more than $200 million of economic benefit for Ohio each year,” Schuring said in a statement. “This legislation provides more opportunities for Ohio to continue its strong alliance with Israel, as well as bolster our economy here at home.”

Similar bills have been signed into law in South Carolina and Illinois.

The ACLU of Ohio issued a statement Nov. 29 saying it opposes the bill, calling it an “unwarranted attack on First Amendment rights” because it “severely restricts the right to speak out or take action based on political beliefs.” 

The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate.

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