Government
7:00 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Seek to Sever Ties with Companies that Do Business with Iran

State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) and Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) have introduced legislation aimed at breaking financial ties with companies that do business with Iran. Stack's Senate Bill 1543 and Frankel's House Bill 2427 would specifically go after businesses with direct investment in Iran's energy sector and bar them from bidding on Pennsylvania state contracts.

"The Terror-Free Procurement legislation would prohibit an individual company or government entity that does business to the amount of $20 million or more in activity with Iran's energy sector from entering into contracts with the Department of General Services," said Frankel.

This follows Pennsylvania Act 44, which required public pension funds to divest from companies doing business with Iran. Frankel called that successful and said at least 16 companies have divested from Iran because of that law, and he added this latest legislation is the next step.

"In essence, we're giving these companies a clear choice — either you can do business with a state sponsor of terror in Iran, or you can do business with the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but you can't have it both ways," said Frankel.

Missouri recently passed a divestment law. It's currently awaiting approval from the governor of that state. Four other states have similar divestment laws: California, Indiana, Maryland, and Florida. Stack said he hopes the commonwealth joins that list.

"Pennsylvania must not associate itself with nations that sponsor or promote terrorism," said the senator. "Companies that choose to conduct business with nations like Iran should not be supported by Pennsylvania tax dollars, and ladies and gentlemen, that's still being done today."