Sacramento, CA — Today the Legislature approved Assembly Bill 1151, the Divest From Iran Act. The bill, authored by Assembly members Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Bob Blumenfield (DSan Fernando Valley), would enhance California’s current divestiture law and bring new levels of transparency and accountability to California’s public pension funds, helping ensure that taxpayer dollars do not go toward investing in companies that do business with Iranian energy interests.
It now awaits action by the Governor. “The Legislature sent a clear message today that complying with California’s divestment laws is mandatory,” said Feuer. “As one of the world’s largest economies, California is in a position to take a meaningful stand against companies that choose to fund Iran’s nuclear ambitions by investing in its energy sector, and that responsibility must not be abrogated.” In mid-May, Assembly members Feuer, Blumenfield and Furutani held a hearing to investigate why CalPERS and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) have failed to comply with the California law requiring public pensions to divest from companies with business interests in Iran. Just days before this hearing, CalPERS announced that it will divest most of investments in businesses with interests in Iran’s energy sector.
The hearing found that although this law became effective on January 1, 2008, CalPERS has still yet to effectuate meaningful divestment. “For years, state law has required CalPERS to completely divest from Iran, and it hasn’t,” said Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley). “This bill will require CalPERS to publicly disclose why it’s not abiding by the law. By signing this bill, the governor can help the fight to keep CalPERS accountable.” Assembly members Feuer and Blumenfield have been waging a multi-prong campaign to ensure that California’s financial resources are not invested in companies doing business in Iran’s energy sector and not used to bolster Iran’s nuclear weapons development or extremist activities.
Last year, they authored the Iran Contracting Act of 2010, which prohibits contracts of $1 million or more between the State of California (including its cities and counties) and companies with significant business in Iran’s energy sector. AB 1650 also passed with bipartisan support. The text of AB 1151 can be viewed here: http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/asm/ ab_1151-1200/ab_1151_bill_20110505_amended_asm_v96.html. Assembly member Feuer’s website: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/feuer.