In this year’s legislative session, Tennessee lawmakers passed Public Chapter 775. The new law prohibits public entities (including counties) from entering into a contract for services, supplies, information technology, or construction unless the contract includes a written certification that the company is not currently engaged in, and will not be engaged in for the duration of the contract, a boycott of Israel. Any contract executed on or after July 1, 2022, that fails to comply with the law is void. The law does not apply to contracts with a value of less than $250,000 or to contracts where the supplier has less than ten employees. The law became effective July 1, 2022.
According to the law, a boycott of Israel means engaging in refusals to deal, terminating business activities, or other commercial actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or companies doing business in or with Israel or authorized by, licensed by, or organized under the laws of the State of Israel to do business, or persons or entities doing business in Israel, when such actions are taken: (1) In compliance with, or adherence to, calls for a boycott of Israel, or (2) In a manner that discriminates on the basis of nationality, national origin, religion, or other unreasonable basis, and is not based on a valid business reason. Tenn. Code Ann. § 12-4-119.
Counties can comply with the new law by including the following language in every agreement:
Boycott of Israel. The Contractor certifies that it is not currently engaged in, and will not for the duration of the contract engage in, a boycott of Israel as defined by Tenn. Code Ann. § 12-4-119. This provision shall not apply to contracts with a total value of less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or to contractors with less than ten (10) employees.
For additional information, please do not hesitate to contact CTAS.
Note: The statute was renumbered in September 2022 and this article has been updated to reflect the current statute number of T.C.A. § 12-4-119.