Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter, state lawmakers, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Public Employees' Retirement Association of Colorado today announced a new divestment policy toward companies that have a significant financial stake in Iran.
"PERA, the Jewish Community Relations Council, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and my office have spent several months finding common ground on this issue," Gov. Ritter said. "I commend all stakeholders for coming to the table and reaching agreement on this new policy. This measure will allow PERA to maintain its fiduciary responsibility to its pension-fund members and take an aggressive stance against companies doing business in Iran."
PERA's board voted unanimously Friday on a phased strategy that starts with immediately creating a list of public companies that meet certain criteria, such as having more than $20 million of investments in Iran's energy sector.
If PERA holds a direct public investment in any of those companies, PERA will engage the companies to examine their involvement in Iran. The outcome could lead to divestment from those companies. PERA also will enact a moratorium on any new investments in companies on the list. PERA staff will provide monthly updates to its board, the Governor and the legislature starting on March 21.
"We cannot continue to economically support a country that is the number one destabilizing force in the region and is putting American troops at greater risk," Gov. Ritter said, noting that several states have adopted legislation requiring pension-fund divestment from Iran. Last year, the Colorado legislature passed and Gov. Ritter signed House Bill 1184 (Romanoff/Groff), requiring PERA to divest from companies doing business in Sudan.
"I hope our actions will contribute to the larger peaceful movement encouraging Iran to change its behavior and join the community of nations," said state Rep. Joe Rice, an Army reservist returning from a tour of duty in Iraq who helped push for the new policy.
"I commend the PERA board," said state Rep. Joel Judd, who worked on the new policy. "The responsibility for protecting public employee pensions is in good hands."