Legislation: In 2009, Minnesota passed House File 111, a law requiring the State Board of Investment (SBI) to scrutinize its holdings in companies that have active business operations in Iran. The law requires the SBI to contact scrutinized companies and request that they cease their activities; the SBI must then divest its holdings in companies that do not comply. HF 111 also requires the SBI to provide an annual update of scrutinized and prohibited companies as well as a description of any action taken to divest. The law will expire if Iran is removed from the state sponsors of terror list or if the federal government declares that state sanctions infringe on federal power (1).
Effect: In 2010, the SBI divested approximately 5 million shares of stock in five companies (2). In 2011, the trust divested nearly 1.7 million shares of stock in six companies (3). In 2012, the SBI divested 1.33 million shares of stock from eight companies (4). The SBI divested from no companies in 2014 (4). In 2015, the SBI undertook divestment of 200,000 shares of stock (6). The SBI is scheduled to divest entirely from Russian oil producer Lukoil in 2016 (7).
Key Actors: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the bill into law, which was sponsored by Representatives Margaret Kelliher (D, 60A) and Marty Seifert (R, 21A) (8). The Minnesota chapter of Christians United for Israel, in conjunction with the Jewish Community Relations Council, supported the enactment of Iran divestment legislation by reaching out to legislators across Minnesota (9).
Of note: The Minnesota SBI currently consults with IW Financial in the scrutinization process (10).