Illinois pension systems are now banned from investing in any company which is boycotting Israel.
Pension funds will divest from corporations participating in a boycott, which the law defines as "engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in the State of Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel."
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One of the sponsors of the legislation, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), says the state has a long-standing trade relationship with Israel, and therefore has an interest in preventing the country from being hurt economically. She believes divesting from boycotting companies can't be equated to suppressing the free speech of those who support a boycott.
"In many ways, we were very respectful of...the First Amendment," Feigenholtz said. "If they want to voice their opinion and boycott, more power to them, we just don't have to invest in them."
The bill passed both the House and Senate with unanimous support, and goes into effect immediately.
Illinois is the first state to pass such a law, and in signing it, Gov. Bruce Rauner said he hoped other states would follow suit.
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