Northampton City Council takes stand against companies involved with nuclear weapons

  • Northampton City Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Northampton city hall File photo

Staff Writer
Published: 8/20/2019 9:55:35 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The City Council approved a home rule petition Thursday that would allow the city to refuse contracts to companies involved in the design, manufacture or maintenance of nuclear weapons.

The petition passed the council by a first vote of 7-0. City Council President Ryan O’Donnell and At-Large City Councilor William Dwight were not present at the meeting.

Last year, Mayor David Narkowicz signed an executive order saying that the city would not do business with companies directly involved in the manufacture or maintenance of nuclear weapons, to the extent practicable and permitted by law, as well as avoid investments in companies involved in the manufacture or maintenance of nuclear weapons, with the same caveats.

However, Narkewicz said state law forbids the city from disqualifying contractors for being involved with nuclear weapons. The petition, he said Thursday, is “a special act that would actually ask the Legislature to create that exception for us.”

During the meeting’s public comment period, activist Susan Lantz urged the council to pass the home rule petition.

“With the defunctioning of nuclear weapons, we could afford to support the Green New Deal,” she said.

The city’s efforts in opposing nuclear weapons earned it a certificate from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in June, recognizing that the city is aligned with the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The council will take a second vote on the home rule petition at its next meeting. Should it pass and be signed by the mayor, it will go to Northampton’s area lawmakers in the State House for them to introduce it.

Narkewicz said Tuesday that, should the special act become law, he has been told that Northampton would be the first city in the state with such an enforceable policy.

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