Oklahoma considers banning state contracts to firms that boycott firearms, fossil fuels

Legislation applies to companies valued at $100,000 or more with 10 or more employees.
The Oklahoma state Capitol.
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Two bills moving through the Oklahoma Legislature would prohibit the state from entering into contracts with companies that boycott firearms or fossil fuel businesses.

House Bill 3144 targets companies the bill's sponsors said are discriminating against gun manufacturers.

"I've seen several examples of companies that discriminate against firearms companies, including a national banking chain that has policies against loaning to gun manufacturers and gun businesses that sell long rifles to citizens 20-years-old or younger," said Casey Murdock, R-Felt, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. "If a person can fight for our country at the age of 18, why shouldn't they be able to buy a rifle? Oklahoma's gun policies should be set by the legislators the citizens elected to pass laws, and this is a state that stands strong for the Second Amendment."

The bill applies to companies valued at $100,000 or more with 10 or more employees, according to the text.

"Ensuring we don't spend taxpayer money or sign contracts with entities that discriminate against this industry based solely on the products they manufacture keeps us from being at odds with a fundamental belief system held by the vast majority of Oklahomans," said Rep. Kevin West, R-Moore. He is sponsoring the bill in the House.

A bill entitled the "Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022" would require the state to divest itself from contracts with corporations that do not do business with fossil fuel companies.

"More than six percent of our state's jobs are produced by traditional energy – triple the national average," said Sen. Mark Allen, R-Spiro, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. "By divesting from and prohibiting state contracts with companies that boycott this industry, we can bolster support for the employees and jobs created by oil and gas and safeguard the interests of Oklahoma's citizens and economy."

The bill would apply to not only new contracts but also current ones.

"State government entities with holdings in companies on the list shall notify Treasurer and warn such companies that it may be subject to divestment," according to the bill's text. "The company has 90 days to cease its boycotting activities to avoid divestment."

Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, is opposed to the bills.

"Should we be researching and excluding businesses from working with our government based on their stances on specific hot button issues? Kirt said in a Facebook post. "I don't think that's fair or appropriate with public money."

Both bills are back in the House for consideration of Senate amendments.