Legislation: In 2008, the “Divestment from Terror Act” mandated all of Michigan’s public retirement systems divest from all entities which have carried out more than $20 million of business with State Department-designated state sponsors of terror. (1) The 2012 “Iran Economic Sanctions Act” banned businesses with over $20 million invested in Iran’s energy sector from bidding on public contracts. (2)
Effect: According to Michigan State Treasury reports, public retirement systems have divested $21.5 million from Iran-linked enterprises since the statute took effect. (3) However, state news site MLive reports that retirement systems have divested over $185 million. (4)
Key actors: State Senator Roger Kahn (R – Saginaw) sponsored the Iran Economic Sanctions Act; State Senator Jack Brandenburg (R – Harrison Township) was one of the co-sponsors.
Of note: A pending bill common to Michigan, Kansas and Missouri would ban any company doing business in Iran from receiving state economic assistance grants. That would hit Michigan auto business hard, especially Chrysler, which operated in Iran prior to 2012 and might be eager to return. The bill is championed by State Senator Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Township). (5) On September 1, 2015, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a nationally-targeted letter calling on governors of all 50 states to adopt sanctions against Iran. (6)