Sen. Jansen unveils plan to help fight terror
LANSING - A legislative package requiring state funds be divested from companies engaging in business with terrorist countries was unveiled at the Capitol Tuesday by a bipartisan group of state senators.
"Michigan should not invest public dollars in companies that conduct business with terrorist sponsored countries - plain and simple," said Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township. "This legislative package will help ensure that the state's funds are invested in good conscience."
Under the proposed legislation, Michigan funds would be divested from companies that actively engage in business with all 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 recent 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 28 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.
The Senate Homeland Security and Emerging Technologies Committee plans to convene hearings on the bills in the coming weeks.
Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2007
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