April 26, 2012

Silver Bill to Expand Iran Divestment Act of 2012 Approved, Strengthens State Support for Federal Effort to Shutdown Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program

Legislation Passed by Assembly Extends State Ban on Dealing with Companies Doing Business with Iran to SUNY, CUNY and Others

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced the passage of legislation to expand the number of state agencies that must comply with the recently enacted Iran Divestment Act of 2012, which prohibits state contracts with companies that do business with Iran.

The Iran Divestment Act, sponsored by Speaker Silver and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, conforms New York Stateís procurement practices to the federal governmentís efforts to halt the development of nuclear weapons in Iran.

The bill (A.9224) would add SUNY, CUNY and state and local public authorities to the public entities that are barred from entering into contracts with companies that make substantial investments in the energy sector of Iran.

"For the sake of our nationís security and that of our allies around the world, such as Israel, it is essential that we do all we can to stymie Iranís development of nuclear weapons," said Silver. "This bill expands the Iran Divestment Act of 2012 to ensure that any business done by New York State never benefits Iran, a tyrannical state that is a patron of terrorism in the Middle East and a threat to international peace."

The Iran Divestment Act of 2012 requires the state Office of General Services to create a public list of individuals or companies engaged in investment activities in Iran which are targeted by the federal law. Under the act, companies that provide goods or services, or credit used for goods or services of more than $20 million to Iran are ineligible for New York State procurement contracts.

The ban on business with Iran adopted by New York State is also the law in California, Florida and Indiana, and it has been introduced in several other states, including neighboring Connecticut.

In 2009, at the direction of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, more than $86 million in New State Common Retirement Fund investments were divested from nine companies that were linked to business activities in Iran and Sudan.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in July 2010, blocking any companies that are linked to Iranís regime from winning contracts with the federal government.