The Montgomery News reports that the state House
unanimously passed the measure this month. H.B. 1821, the Protecting
Pennsylvania’s Investments Act, would require the state Treasurer’s Office,
Public School Employees Retirement System, and State Employees Retirement
System to end investments in targeted foreign companies that choose to continue
business activities in Iran and Sudan, according to the newspaper.
The bill is awaiting Senate action.
State Representative Josh Shapiro, who sponsored the
bill, said Pennsylvania currently invests about $660 million of public pension
funds into foreign companies actively doing business with Iran and Sudan. The
two countries are among four currently on a U.S. Department of State list of
State Sponsors of Terrorism.
“It’s a terrible investing decision — it’s terrible
morally and is fiscally imprudent,” Shapiro said, according to the
Montgomery News. “The geopolitical risk of investing with companies in
Iran and Sudan is so great it undermines the value of our investments and
threatens retirement savings.”
Nineteen states as well as the District of Columbia have enacted divestment legislation, and nine others have taken voluntary steps to divest their pension funds or passed resolutions urging divestment (see DiNapoli to Divest, Freeze Sudan, Iran-Tied Pension Holdings).