Colorado Anti-BDS Law Stands as House Committee Defeats repeal

Colorado Capitol building (google)

DENVER (The Denver Post/TNS/Hamodia) — Colorado’s public pension program must continue divesting from companies that economically boycott Israel after a state House committee rejected a bill that would have repealed the requirement.

The 10-1 bipartisan defeat of HB24-1169 late Monday in the House Finance Committee came after hours of emotional and tense testimony. The discussion often spiraled into arguments both in support of Israel’s military campaign against the Hamas terror group in Gaza, and against it.

More than 100 people testified for or against the measure, which would have repealed a 2016 state law that requires the Public Employees Retirement Association to divest from companies that participate in the BDS movement. That movement promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a way of protesting the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

Only three companies have been flagged under the law, according to PERA. It applies only to international companies. The law costs roughly $10,000 a year to administer.

Just one member of the Democrat-controlled finance committee, Rep. Lorena Garcia, an Adams County Democrat, voted to advance the bill. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Elisabeth Epps, a Denver Democrat. She was reprimanded by House leadership last month for, among other things, disrupting House proceedings and joining pro-Palestinian protesters seated in the House’s gallery during the November special session.

Supporters and opponents of the measure packed a basement committee room in the Capitol, spilling into the hall and an overflow room.

Epps and the bill’s supporters sought to cast the proposal as protecting a First Amendment right of protest, alongside broader criticisms of Israel and its military campaign. Opponents defended Israel and argued that the BDS movement was antisemitic, and that the bill’s supporters were unfairly targeting Israel.

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