Bills preventing vendors for the state of Minnesota from boycotting Israel or Israeli companies have been introduced in the House and Senate, with the House bill passing Feb. 23.
The bill was written by Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls.
He said measures like these have been implemented in 16 other states, and that it came at the direction of the White House.
Kresha said this is an attempt by the state to stay out of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
“This is just our attempt to stay neutral in this and say, ‘We’re not going to take sides in this and we’re not going to allow the state to subsidize discrimination,’” Kresha said.
The senate bill is sponsored by Majority Leader Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, who said he was asked to sponsor the bill, which has passed through committee.
Gazelka said the bill is consistent with federal, state and local anti-discrimination statutes, and is important to show Israel, an ally of the United States, that the U.S. stands with it.
Gazelka said there has been some bipartisan support and he is confident it will pass the senate.
“Because we are working across the aisle to build support, I’m confident it will get done,” Gazelka said.
The House bill includes two amendments which say there are exceptions with vendors who do less than $1,000 of business with the state and any case where a commissioner says it is not in the state’s best interest or practicable.