Colorado Governor Throws Weight Behind Pension Divestment Bill

April 20, 2007 ( - Colorado Governor Bill Ritter has signed a measure requiring public pension funds to get rid of investments in Sudan-linked companies, which could put the state on the same path as others trying use economic power to stifle the violence there.

According to the Associated Press, Ritter said that targeted investment can help ensure state pension funds are redirected in a responsible way.

However, some critics argue that forcing funds to divest money in companies with ties to the Sudanese government could cause fiduciary problems by allowing an agenda other than getting the highest returns for investors to guide investment decisions (See Public Pension Fund Divestment: A Fiduciary Risk? ).

Such measures have passed in North Carolina, Maine and New Jersey and are still on the table in Florida  and Maryland . In Illinois, divestment legislation hit a roadblock in February when the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the federal government alone holds the power to regulate foreign commerce (See  Court Blocks Illinois Sudan Law ).

In April, the California State Teachers Retirement System’ (CalSTRS) withdrew its backing for divestment legislation (See CalSTRS Opposes Broad Investment Bans), saying that sweeping investment bans could hurt investment returns and cost the fund money.