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Anti Israeli boycott bill moves to the House

Monday, Apr 27, 2015

* This topic comes to us via a highly biased piece in the Chicago Monitor. I’m posting it only because I didn’t see any other stories online

On Wednesday, the Illinois Senate voted to punish companies that boycott Israel… by requiring Illinois retirement funds to expend resources blacklisting, monitoring and withdrawing funds from such companies. The House adjourned on Friday without calling its own identical bill that had already been voted out of committee. The Senate Bill will now go to a House Committee for hearings before it goes to the whole House for a vote.

The Illinois Coalition to Protect Academic Freedom and Free Speech (member organizations listed below) was formed in response to this anti-boycott legislation introduced in the Illinois State Senate. This same coalition defeated bills in the Illinois legislature last year that sought to penalize Illinois higher education institutions, teachers, and other academics if they supported the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Many of the same Illinois senators and representatives that voted against these anti-boycott bills in committee last year have voted for these bills this year.

* The difference this time around is that the bill is strongly supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner

Requires the Illinois Investment Policy Board, by April 1, 2016, to make its best efforts to identify all Iran-restricted companies, Sudan-restricted companies, and companies that boycott Israel and to assemble those identified companies into a list of restricted companies. Defines “Iran-restricted company”, “Sudan-restricted company”, “company that boycotts Israel”, and “restricted companies”. Requires the Illinois Investment Policy Board to review the list of restricted companies on a quarterly basis. Requires State-funded retirement systems and the Illinois Board of Investment to identify restricted companies in which it owns either direct holdings or indirect holdings and, under certain circumstances, to divest from those restricted companies. Prohibits State-funded retirement systems and the Illinois Board of Investment from acquiring securities of restricted companies. Provides that the cost associated with the activities of the Illinois Investment Policy Board shall be borne by the boards of each pension fund or investment board created under the State Universities, Downstate Teachers, or Investment Board Article. Provides that actions taken in compliance with the amendatory Act are exempt from any conflicting statutory or common law obligations, including fiduciary duties. Provides that beginning January 1, 2016, certain Sections of the Code that prohibit investment in certain companies that do business with the Government of Iran and the Republic of the Sudan shall be administered in accordance with the amendatory Act. Contains a statement of legislative intent. Contains a severability clause. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.

* The measure passed the Senate 49-0, with three Democrats voting “Present” (Landek, Raoul, Van Pelt) and six Democrats and one Republican not voting (Bennett, Brady, Collins, Hutchinson, E. Jones, Sandoval, Stadelman).

The Middle East can bring out teh crazy in some people, so I’m only going to say this once: Confine yourselves solely to the content of the bill. Extremists will be deleted and then banned for life. No exceptions. No further warnings will be issued. This is a state politics blog, so let’s keep it that way. Thanks.

…Adding… The legislation may come up tonight…

Israeli Consulate holds Israel Independence Day celebration with Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad hosting Gov. Bruce Rauner as keynote speaker

WHAT: Israel’s 67th Anniversary reception and concert
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Monday, April 27, 2015
WHERE: Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court
WHO: Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez
Cong. Bill Foster
City of Chicago Aldermen and other elected officials
Members of the Consular Corps
Israeli ensemble Baladino and Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble
WHY: To celebrate Israel’s 67th Anniversary

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments
  1. - Wordslinger - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:04 am:

    Yeah, I’m sure all the state retirement funds are well-equipped to compile such a list.


  2. - John Parnell - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:06 am:

    Why handicap experts who we hired to get the greatest return on pension funds? This meddling in foreign policy by legislators and Governor is short sighted.


  3. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:07 am:

    These types of bills are generally bad policy and difficult for the Pension systems to administer.

    Good or bad, the Funds are not social investors, the Trustees are fiduciaries that have to invest in vehicles that offer they best financial result for the system and making these exceptions for the political cause of the day is not good policy.

    If something is so bad that it should be invested in, it should be done at a national level, for all instituions to follow.


  4. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:09 am:

    Given how foush the retirement systems are; it seems like a good way to spend down some of the unneeded cash in the plans. We are fortunate to have so much mone in these funds that we can spend extra money for monitoring stuff like this and move money around regardless of investment results.


  5. - cover - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    Rich, that linked story didn’t indicate Gov. Rauner’s position on the bill. When has he made a public statement in favor of this?


  6. - Retired - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    Amen @ 9:07 AM. More investment stipulations = more fees, plain and simple.


  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    I tire of the incessant symbolic posturing in foreign affairs. How does this impact the average person here or in the Middle East?


  8. - AC - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    Socially responsible investing nearly always comes at a price. The pension funds are too underfunded to make this a mandate.


  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:27 am:

    ===that linked story didn’t indicate Gov. Rauner’s position on the bill===

    Correct. But anybody who has watched the bill even a little has seen the governor’s people working it hard.


  10. - cover - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    Fair enough, Rich. The vote total in and of itself didn’t really indicate the Governor’s position. Thanks for the additional info.


  11. - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    Of course Rauner’s on this. His next step is national office.


  12. - VanillaMan - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    Investing in a US ally shouldn’t be controversial.


  13. - Suzanne - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    This bill, rather than breaking new ground or adding cumbersome processes, is actually consistent with other actions of the General Assembly. Pleaser read the actual legislation that passed the Senate on Wednesday before waxing poetic. It sets up an Illinois Investment Policy Board which is responsible for creating a list of all Iran and Sudan-restricted companies, and companies that boycott Israel. Are opponents suggesting that the State of Israel pension funds return to investing in companies doing business with those who committed genocide in Darfur, the nuclear weapon seeking mullahs in Iran, and that we never should have divested from apartheid South Africa?


  14. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    VM, this is hardly investing in a U.S. ally. Go read the bill.

    We have previously divested Iran and Sudan-related holdings.

    Form your own opinion as to the effectiveness of those acts.


  15. - Come on man! - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    Wasn’t there a kerfuffle about something like this during the Cross/Freirichs race?

    Also, when did not investing in “bad” become a bad thing. Didn’t we do stuff like this with South Africa during apartheid?


  16. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    [This commenter has been banned for life.]


  17. - train111 - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Another unfunded mandate, when pension funds can least afford it.

    Try finding a neutral position anywhere on the Middle East especially concerning Israel. State govenment should leave it alone.


  18. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:48 pm:

    Wow - never seen you ban a regular commenter for life. Message: don’t screw with Rich’s rules.


  19. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    The scarier part of this, taking out the entire philosophical/political issue of divestment, is the creation of an “Investment Policy Board.” That’s what pension boards are. If this group is going to do anything now or in the future beyond making a list of prohibited holdings, their members should become fiduciaries with the concurrent liability.

    Also, will this Board be staffed? By whom?


  20. - zonz - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    well these folks don’t seem balanced - Chicago Monitor

    https://twitter.com/ChicagoMonitor/status/592687379565121536

    huge roster - http://chicagomonitor.com/about/editorial-team/


  21. - zonz - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    this is clear:

    - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    Of course Rauner’s on this. His next step is national office.


  22. - David Starrett - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    This is not what it seems to be.


  23. - FAIRNESS AND FAIRNESS ONLY - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    Fiduciary responsibility should come first. Anything else opens up the trustees and the fund to potential lawsuits.


  24. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    There’s an exemption in this bill big enough to fly several F-18’s through. Oops.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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