Jun. 28, 2024

HARRISBURG –Reps. Natalie Mihalek (R-Allegheny/Washington), Kristin Marcell (R-Bucks) and Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) today announced legislation that would solidify the Commonwealth’s support for Israel by withholding state funds from any institution of higher learning that boycotts or divests from Israel, as well as prohibiting holdings in the Pennsylvania State Treasury or Commonwealth pension funds from being divested from Israel.

“We cannot ignore the troubling and lawless developments on our college campuses,” said Mercuri. “University leaders must stand firm against misguided protests and not be swayed by pressures to divest from Israel. Our legislation ensures Pennsylvania funding demonstrates our support for Israel and stands with them as they protect their homeland against terrorism and antisemitism.”
The legislation is being sought as some protests on college campuses across the United States earlier this year were successful in getting universities to consider divesting from Israel and companies that do business with the Israeli government.

Language in the bill mirrors Senate Bill 1260, which was passed by the Senate in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 41-7 vote. It prohibits any fund controlled by the state treasurer, including Pennsylvania's multibillion-dollar general fund, from being divested from Israel. It also impacts the State Employees' Retirement Fund, the Public School Employees’ Retirement Fund and the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement Fund.

Regarding education funding, colleges and universities that boycott or divest from Israel would be denied Commonwealth funds. This would apply to schools within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, community colleges, the four state-related universities and private universities that receive state grants. 

“The nation of Israel is a beacon of democracy in an otherwise volatile region of the world and the United States has always stood by its side, out of sheer international responsibility to our allies,” Mihalek said. “The violent actions on Hamas’ part in 2023, just like any other unprovoked violence against a group of people based purely on ethnicity, race or religious belief, must never be validated. Opposing hatred and standing with Israel crosses party lines and political ideologies, and this legislation solidifies that position.”

Representative Natalie Mihalek
40th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jordan Frei
RepMihalek.com / Facebook.com/RepMihalek