"Although the government may impose reasonable restrictions on employee or contractor speech when it relates to their job duties or causes disruption in the workplace, people do not lose the right to participate in politics or speak out on issues of public concern just because they get paid by the state".
The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged a Kansas law that prohibits the state from hiring contractors who boycott Israel, calling it a violation of the First Amendment.
Hauss said the state law, which took effect in July, places illegal restrictions on the state's employees and contractors.
"From the Boston Tea Party to the Montgomery bus boycott to the campaign to divest from businesses operating in apartheid South Africa, political boycotts have been a proud part of this country's constitutional tradition". Other decisions have established that the government may not require individuals to sign a certification regarding their political expression in order to obtain employment, contracts, or other benefits.
A bill now being considered by Congress, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S.720 and H.R.1697), provides for significantly greater draconian penalties than those specified in the Kansas law. As a result, Senate sponsors of the bill are considering changes.
Several other states have similar anti-Israel boycott laws on the books.
Meanwhile, a total of 14 Democratic and 29 Republican 43 senators, including New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, had drafted draft "Israeli Anti-boycott legislation" to prevent Israel from boycotting.
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In July, the ACLU sent a letter to members of Congress opposing a bill that would make it a felony to support certain boycotts of companies doing business in Israel and its settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
According to law in Kansas, any company or person contracting with state must sign an announcement confirming that it is not actively participating in boycott of Israel.
She was then denied a contract with the state.
"I'm disappointed that I can't be a math trainer for the state of Kansas because of my political views about human rights across the globe".
"Kansas's law, and others like it, violates the Constitution", ACLU attorney Brian Hauss said in a statement.
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