Threat to civil lib­erty

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

First, I’m not anti-Semitic, and sec­ond, I have never read the Arkansas Times.

The Demo­crat-Gazette ar­ti­cle last Satur­day, “Judge to is­sue or­der on Is­rael-pledge law,” about Act 710 of 2017 is worth read­ing. This law pro­hibits com­pa­nies that con­tract with state agen­cies from boy­cotting Is­rael. This law was chal­lenged by the Arkansas Times when it at­tempted to se­cure an ad­ver­tis­ing con­tract with a state univer­sity and re­fused to sign the pledge that it wouldn’t boy­cott Is­rael. The Times has chal­lenged the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the law. The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice has filed ar­gu­ments in sup­port of the law. The ACLU pre­sented an in­ter­est­ing opin­ion which made a sound ar­gu­ment against the law.

The part of the law that re­ally gives me heart­burn, in ad­di­tion to an at­tack on free speech, is that the law “con­tains an ex­cep­tion al­low­ing a busi­ness to con­tract with a state en­tity with­out sign­ing the no-boy­cott pledge if the busi­ness agrees to give the state a dis­count of 20 per­cent below the price of any other sim­i­lar busi­ness that agrees to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.” This sounds like bla­tant ex­tor­tion spon­sored by the state, in ad­di­tion to other egre­gious at­tacks on the pub­lic and busi­nesses.

Who was re­spon­si­ble for in­tro­duc­ing this bill and where did the idea for such a law orig­i­nate? This law is a lu­di­crous and bla­tant at­tack on civil lib­er­ties, among other things, and should be re­pealed im­me­di­ately. Also, ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with mak­ing and pass­ing this law should be held ac­count­able and their ve­rac­ity ques­tioned.

Also worth read­ing is “2 pre-filed bills traced to 2 men from out of state” on the fol­low­ing Sun­day.

Ar­ti­cles such as these make one shud­der and ques­tion the men­tal­ity and mo­tives of those in charge of gov­ern­ment in Arkansas.

LOUISE HEN­DER­SON

Hot Springs Vil­lage

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