Saturday, March 22, 2014

Update on Anti-Boycott Bill in IL State Legislature


We are delighted to report that State Senate Bill 3017 was not called for debate or a vote during the Judiciary Committee hearing on Wed., March 19th. It now appears, although there is no certainty on this, that the bill will not be moved forward during this legislative session. If the March 28th deadline for moving a bill is not met, it means this unconstitutional assault on academic freedom and free speech will have effectively been defeated.

We have come this far because people and organizations throughout Illinois took action. Our hundreds of phone calls and email messages, the petitions, and the direct discussions with members of the State Legislature all had an impact and made a difference! We had a sense we were on strong footing when we saw that 95 organizations and individuals had submitted to the Judiciary Committee "witness slips" through Wednesday indicating that they opposed this legislation, even though they could not appear at the committee hearing in person. Only 3 people submitted witness slips in support of the bill.

The issue is not quite settled though. A State Senate resolution introduced by the same Senator Silverstein, SJR 59, is still pending.  It has much the same  purpose of undermining academic boycotts of Israel, minus the punitive measure of defunding public universities.  The Resolution has still not been assigned to a Senate Committee, so we will keep you updated on its status, and on what you can do to oppose it.

Thank you for making your voice heard!  Look out for our continued updates  on any related developments.

The Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech was formed in response to anti-boycott legislation introduced in the Illinois State Senate.  The Coalition includes the Center for Constitutional Rights, CAIR-Chicago, Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, American Studies Association, Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago, Arab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East, Committee Against Political Repression, Friends of Sabeel: North America, United States Palestinian Community Network,  American Friends Service Committee- Chicago, Just Foreign Policy, Defending Dissent Foundation, American Muslims for Palestine, UIC Graduate Employees Organization, IFT-AFT Local 6297,and other individuals.

No comments:

Post a Comment