Missouri legislature passes Iran Energy Divestment Act

From left, Nancy Lisker, Senator John Lamping, Kara Newmark. The American Jewish Committee worked with Sen. John Lamping to introduce Iran divestment legislation. AJC representatives visited Jefferson City last week to advocate for the legislation.

JEWISH LIGHT STAFF

The Iran Energy Divestment Act passed through the Missouri Legislature on May 18, the final day of the 2012 legislative. The Iran Energy Divestment Act (SB 722) passed as an amendment to HB 1900 and is now awaiting Governor Jay Nixon’s signature.

The bill, spearheaded by the local chapter of the American Jewish Committee and sponsored by Sen. John Lamping (R-Ladue), would ban companies that have invested in Iran’s petroleum sector from doing business with the state or local governments in Missouri.

ADVERTISEMENT

The effort in Jefferson City was part of a national AJC campaign to get state legislatures to pass similar bills.

“I believe [the bill] sends a strong message that Missouri will not engage in any business that contributes to the development of nuclear weapons in Iran,” said Sen. Lamping. “I’m proud Missouri is among the first 10 states taking a strong stand against Iran’s energy sector by advancing such legislation.”

In October 2011, the national AJC organization identified the need to pass Iran divestment legislation at the state level as a key priority for its regional offices. Federal sanctions legislation in place since 2010 (the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act or CISADA), gave states the authority to enact sanctions against contracting with companies with ties to Iran’s energy sector. In other words, CISADA opened the door for states to enact divestment laws that could further cripple Iran’s ability to raise funds for its nuclear weapons program.

“Advocating alongside Senator Lamping and his able staff was my great honor, and having the opportunity to frequently advocate in Jefferson City and educate our state legislators from both sides of the aisle about the perils of a nuclear Iran and the geopolitical challenge that scenario presents to the balance of power in that region, reminded me how important AJC’s advocacy work is,” said Kara Newmark, chair of AJC-St. Louis Foreign Relations Committee.

If signed by Gov. Nixon, the Iran Energy Divestment Act would prohibit those parties that invest $20 million or more in the energy sector in Iran from entering into a contract for $1 million or more with any Missouri state or local entity.