A vote on the anti-free speech, anti-boycott bill is scheduled to take place on March 3 on the House floor
(ATLANTA, GEORGIA, 3/2/21) – The Georgia office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) is calling on all Georgians to contact their elected officials in the Georgia House of Representatives to demand that they “VOTE NO” tomorrow (March 3) on HB 383, amending the state’s anti-boycott law.
TAKE ACTION: URGE GEORGIA LAWMAKERS TO OPPOSE ANTI-BOYCOTT BILL HB 383, REPEAL ANTI-BOYCOTT LAW
CAIR-Georgia is instead calling on all members of the Georgia General Assembly to protect the right to boycott by repealing the state’s anti-boycott law (Georgia Code Title 50. State Government § 50-5-85).
In 2016, Georgia became the 6th state to pass legislation to prohibit the state from entering contracts with an individual or company that does not certify that such individual or company does not conduct a boycott of Israel. The 2016 law targets corporations that support BDS toward Israel by not allowing them to enter contracts with the state of Georgia and penalizes entities for standing up for Palestinians rights.
The proposed law (HB 383) being voted on tomorrow (March 3) intends to change the minimum amount for the anti-boycott law to apply to state contracts from $1,000 to $100,000.
The proposed change to the law is a direct result of the lawsuit CAIR and other partners filed on behalf of Abby Martin in 2020. Last year, Abby Martin’s keynote address at Georgia Southern University was cancelled after she refused to sign the anti-BDS contract.
CAIR-Georgia opposes any legislation that abridges Georgians’ constitutionally protected first Amendment rights to boycott. We believe that this change is an attempt to avoid the law itself being overturned. First amendment privileges should not be abridged or extended based on an arbitrary monetary amount nor based on perceived validity of the protest or speech itself.
Last year, CAIR-Georgia, CAIR Legal Defense Fund and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund today announced the filing of a federal free speech lawsuit against the University System of Georgia, which cancelled a journalist’s speaking engagement on a college campus when she refused to sign a state-mandated oath pledging not to boycott the Israeli government.
SEE: Civil Rights Groups Announce Free Speech Lawsuit Against Georgia’s Unconstitutional ‘Israel Boycott’ Law
SEE: Georgia Lawmaker Says Israeli Government ‘Asked Me’ For Anti-Boycott Law She Introduced
The Supreme Court has long held that political boycotts – like boycotts for Palestinian rights – are a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. In September 2018, a federal court blocked Arizona from enforcing its anti-boycott law, finding that the law likely violates the First Amendment.
SEE: Arizona Federal Court Blocks Anti-Boycott Law
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR- Georgia Executive Director Abdullah Jaber, 678-631-9697, email@example.com; CAIR-Georgia Legal and Policy Director Murtaza Khwaja, 404-432-8847, firstname.lastname@example.org