TALLAHASSEE, FL- Continuing to pave the way on divestment of state funds from rogue nations, Governor Charlie Crist on Monday signed a bill making it easier for Florida's citizens to exercise economic pressure against terror-sponsoring states. The bill, SB 538 sponsored by Senators Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton) and Carey Baker (R-Eustis), requires fire and police pension funds to divest from Iran and Sudan and requires the State Board of Administration to provide a "terror-free" option for state employees participating in the State's defined contribution retirement plan.
In 2007, State Senator Ted Deutch sponsored the Protecting Florida's Investments Act, making Florida the first state to divest its pension funds from companies engaging in business with Iran and Sudan. Since its passage, Florida - which has the nation's fourth largest pension fund - has divested over $1 billion from scrutinized companies.
"The state of Florida has made it clear that its citizens will not aid the genocide in Darfur or contribute to Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program," said Sen. Deutch. "The Governor has reinforced the commitment of our state's citizens to not support companies who choose to put profit over international security."
SB 538 requires that the public investors in the $5 billion defined contribution plan be offered a terror-free investment fund. It also requires police and firefighter pension funds to identify any holdings they may have with scrutinized companies and to divest these securities by 2010.
Florida is the first state in America to require that a terror-free option be given to its investors. Since Florida became the first state to divest, 18 other states have adopted divestment measures.