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April 10, 2019      4:20 PM

Bill to narrow the scope of Phil King's anti-boycott of Israel law draws heat

Rep. Wu says it's not about whether Texas supports Israel but whether lawmakers support the Constitution; King says the change is needed to allow individuals to exercise their right of free speech

A bill narrowing the scope of a law barring government contracts with businesses boycotting Israel passed in the Texas House today after a debate centered on its constitutionality.

House Bill 793 by Redistricting Committee Chairman Phil King, R-Weatherford, amends the law –– which King authored last session –– targeting companies engaged in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement of Israel.

Supporters say the BDS movement against Israel is meant to pressure the country to acknowledge Palestinians by suppressing their speech and occupying their territory. They equate it to the BDS movement against South Africa in the 1990s. Some opponents say the movement is anti-Semitic.

Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, and other Democrats peppered Chairman King with questions.

By James Russell

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