Senate approves Jansen's legislation to help fight terror
LANSING - The nation's most comprehensive legislative package requiring state funds be divested from companies engaging in business with terrorist countries was approved by the Michigan Senate Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township.
"By divesting Michigan public dollars from companies that do business with terrorist sponsored countries we are sending a clear message to the entire business community," Jansen said. "We have a responsibility to make sure that state funds are not aiding terrorists. This crucial legislation is a big step in the right direction."
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.
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.
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 countries 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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