Colorado House Passes Sudan Divestment Bill

February 20, 2007 ( - Colorado state legislators last week unanimously passed what was described as the nation's toughest and most comprehensive legislation to help end the genocide in Sudan.

House Bill 1184, sponsored by House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver), State Representative Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood), and 74 other legislators in both chambers, passed unanimously on a final vote, according to the Associated Press.

“This is the strongest action that any state has ever taken against the Sudanese government,” said Speaker Romanoff. “Other states, even the federal government, are following our lead to consider divestment legislation to end the unspeakable crimes against humanity in Sudan.”

Expedited Engagement

According to the Cheery Creek (Colorado) News, the bill would require Colorado’s pension funds to maintain a list of those companies that either directly or indirectly help the Sudanese government commit genocide. After an expedited engagement period, the pension funds would be required to divest from those companies that do not change their business practices in Sudan and would be prohibited from future investment in offending companies until the atrocities cease.

The bill was  unanimously endorsed by the Board of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (Colorado PERA) earlier this month.   Colorado PERA estimates that approximately $137 million of the $38 billion fund invested in companies covered by the legislation would be impacted.

The bill now heads to the state senate for further consideration.

Following Suit

Last week the city of Los Angeles joined a growing list of public pension funds announcing their intention to pull funds from Sudanese-linked investments.   The $40 billion fund said it will pull out $27 million in retirement fund investments – the Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System will divest $18 million in holdings; the Police and Fire Pensions will divest $7.5 million, and the Department of Water and Power pension funds will pull out $1.8 million – from companies with business ties to Sudan in an effort to protest ongoing violence in the country’s Western region of Darfur (see  Los Angeles to Withdraw $27M from Sudan-linked Companies ).