2012-01-13 / Top Stories

Iran Divestment Act Passed By Assembly

Goldfeder Goldfeder Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder announced the passage of the Iran Divestment Act, a bill he sponsored that prohibits New York State and local governments from issuing contracts to businesses invested in Iran’s energy sector (A.8668-A).

“It is no secret that Iran is involved both with terrorism and procuring nuclear weapons,” Goldfeder said. “Using taxpayer money to contribute to those efforts is simply unacceptable. This legislation would ensure that doesn’t happen by prohibiting those companies from doing business with the state.”

This legislation prohibits companies with over $20 million invested in the Iranian energy sector from receiving, renewing or bidding on state contracts unless that entity certifies it doesn’t have, has ceased or is taking steps to cease such investments. The state Office of General Services (OGS) will release a list of all people, corporations and other organizations found to be in violation of the act; these entities will be prohibited from entering into state contracts.

Modeled after similar legislation in California and conceived with help from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the new act builds on a federal law allowing state and local governments to divest from businesses whose interests directly or indirectly support Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. This applies to any company directly involved in nuclear power, but can also extend to those engaged in oil or natural gas development in Iran.

“Iran’s search for nuclear weapons has the potential to destabilize the Middle East and possibly the safety of the world as a whole,” Goldfeder said. “Using New York taxpayer money to contribute to that effort is an affront to everything the United States – and our community – stands for. This legislation closes that door and keeps taxpayer money out of the hands of terrorists.”

Companies prohibited under the act will have the opportunity to make an appeal to OGS. In addition, local government contractors will have to certify that they are not on the OGS list when they submit bids for state and local contracts. Individuals or companies on the list that are the sole source of certain commodities or services can continue conducting business with the state on a case-by-case basis.

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