Schwarzenegger Signs Sudan Divestment Bills

September 26, 2006 ( - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills on Monday, one of which required divestment from Sudan-related holdings for the state's public pension funds.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the other bill (Assembly Bill 2179) will begin the University of California’s process of divesting in nine companies it targeted as doing business with Sudan. Trustees of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) voted in May to ban investment in the nine companies (See CalPERS Votes to Bar Sudan-related Investments).

According to the Bee, Assembly Bill 2941 requires that CalPERS and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) meet with corporate executives whose operations are generating revenue for the Khartoum government or show complicity in the Darfur crisis. If the companies refuse to cooperate or pull out of Sudan, the pension funds will start selling off their holdings. CalSTRS voted to support the passing of the bill earlier this year (See CalSTRS Supports Sudan Divestment Bill).

“A lot of people look to PERS and STRS. This is going to make a big splash,” Adam Sterling, executive director of the student-led UC Sudan Divestment Taskforce, told the Bee. The pension funds have around $360 billion in assets combined.

The California legislation is expected to spawn similar measures in other states. Some states, such as Maine, Illinois and New Jersey have already passed similar bills (See Measure Requiring Sudan Divestment Passed in ME).