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Utah state senator criticizes business boycotts used to influence legislation

File photo: KSL.com

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Georgia is facing criticism and business boycotts over its new election law. Opponents argue it makes it more difficult for Blacks and other minorities to participate in elections in that state. Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star Game from Georgia after the law was passed, and Georgia-based corporations such as Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola have also criticized the law.

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Here in Utah, Republican State Senator Curt Bramble told KSL Newsradio’s Dave and Dujanovic on Tuesday the threat of a boycott or other economic retaliation meant to influence a legislator’s vote is prohibited. He drew a distinction between a grassroots protest organized by voters and an effort by large businesses represented by lobbyists.

“The issue . . . of big business and economic reprisal — there are laws that address that, and at what point does it cross the line? I think that’s the discussion we ought to be having,” Bramble said.

Business boycotts in Utah could lead to lost credentials

The specific law Bramble cited is part of the state senate rules governing lobbyists. It leaves the penalty up to senate leadership, but it could potentially result in a lobbyist’s credentials being revoked.

Bramble cited the example of the Outdoor Retailers show, which left Utah after a series of disagreements with Utah’s governor and legislative leaders, including whether the boundaries of the Bear’s Ears National Monument should be reduced.

While not offering an opinion on business boycotts, Weber State University Chief Diversity Officer Adrienne Andrews was strongly critical of the Georgia law. She said it puts up new barriers to voting by minorities, including a requirement that they show a driver’s license or other ID to get an absentee ballot.

“So it’s actually something that really negatively impacts members of the communities of color, low-income individuals who may not have their own form of transportation or that type of ID,” Andrews told Dave and Dujanovic.

Andrews called the Georgia law a reaction to a change in leadership after Democrats won both the presidential election and two Senate runoff elections in that state.

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