From the inbox:
The state House unanimously passed legislation today sponsored by Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, by a 193-0 vote, to prohibit Pennsylvania’s public pension funds from investing in foreign companies with significant business ties to Iran and Sudan. The bill is now awaiting Senate action.
Shapiro's bill (H.B. 1821), the Protecting Pennsylvania's Investments Act, would require the state Treasurer's Office, Public School Employees' Retirement System and State Employees' Retirement System, within 22 months, to end investments in targeted foreign companies who choose to continue businesses activities in Iran or Sudan.
"Investing in companies with ties to terrorist nations puts the Commonwealth’s assets at substantial financial risk. A company’s association with terrorism and human rights abuses undermines the value of our investment in such a company," Shapiro said. "While it is morally right to divest from companies that do business with terror-sponsoring nations, during these tough economic times, we must do all we can to protect and strengthen Pennsylvania’s investments."
Shapiro has been leading the effort to divest Pennsylvania’s pension funds from companies doing business with state sponsors of terror since 2007. The state House overwhelmingly passed, by a 185-15 vote, Shapiro’s nearly identical terror-free investing legislation in June 2008. Shapiro has also led the Tobacco Settlement Fund to invest terror free through the passage of a resolution last February that prohibits Pennsylvania’s Tobacco Settlement Investment Board from investing in foreign companies tied to Iran and Sudan.
Nineteen U.S. states already have already enacted divestment legislation, and nine more states have taken voluntary steps to divest their pension funds, or passed resolutions urging divestment.
As a result, Wall Street has responded to the divestment movement by creating terror-free index funds that have outperformed funds with links to terror.
In closing, Shapiro said, "I am very pleased by the strong bipartisan support my legislation received in the state House, and I hope the Senate will move quickly to pass this plan. It’s the morally right – and fiscally prudent – thing to do."
The bill concerns companies doing business in Iran and Sudan and areas under their control. The 16 page text of the bill includes some very specific definitions and those alone are well worth the reading. Whoever put this together did their homework.