Senate approves Richardville’s legislation to help fight terror
The Michigan Senate today approved the nation's most comprehensive legislative package requiring state funds be divested from companies engaging in business with terrorist countries, said Sen. Randy Richardville, member of the Senate Homeland Security and Emerging Technologies Committee.
Under the proposed legislation, Michigan funds would be divested from companies that actively engage in business with terrorist countries as designated by the U.S. State Department. The five nations that currently meet this definition are: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
"Michigan funds should not be used to support countries that are financing terrorist operations," said Richardville, R-Monroe. "We must stop investing in companies that do business with these nations to ensure that our money is not supporting the very terrorists that our brave men and women are trying to protect us from."
The Senate package also will require the Michigan Department of Treasury to establish a public Web site identifying the names of companies conducting business with terrorist countries.
Senate Bill 849, sponsored by Richardville, will specifically ensure that major natural resources funds are not invested in companies that do business with the five terrorist countries.
"I have worked diligently to ensure that the funds provided by hard-working Michigan residents are not used for purposes other than those which promote conservation and preservation," Richardville said. "This legislation will provide further protection by making sure that natural resource funding is not invested in countries that support terrorist activities."
A survey by Luntz-Maslansky Strategic Research indicated that 81 percent of Americans believe that the public pension funds of government employees "definitely should not" invest in companies that do business with nations that sponsor terrorism.
Florida passed a law similar to Michigan's divestment proposal earlier this year. Thanks to such a measure, the state treasurer discovered that $1 billion of Florida's $150 billion pension fund was invested in companies conducting business with Sudan's and Iran's energy sectors.
At least 16 other states have enacted divestment measures and approximately 31 other states are considering such legislation.
This is not the first time the Michigan Legislature has participated in a divestment campaign - Michigan divested from companies doing business in South Africa during the 1980s due to the long-standing practice of apartheid.
Senate Bills 846 through 856, SCR 21 and SJR J will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008
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