On January 23, 2017, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation joined with its longtime grassroots partner the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition in sending a letter to members of the Maryland General Assembly.
The letter follows an article in the Baltimore Jewish Times about four members of the General Assembly who plan on introducing an anti-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions bill. The bill would deny public benefits in the form of pension fund investment and state contracts to supporters of BDS. The bill’s main sponsor stated that it was his intent to “to ensure that this ridiculous messenger movement against Israel never sees the light of day in our state.”
BORDC/DDF and MCCRC explained to the Assembly members in great detail how such a bill would be unconstitutional in a number of ways and would hamper the robust democratic debates necessary for matters of great public concern.
BORDC/DDF has fought similar anti-BDS legislation in a number of states, including on two previous occasions in Maryland. Both times in Maryland we joined with grassroots coalitions and successfully managed to defeat the unconstitutional, anti-free speech BDS bills.