Sudan Divestment Legislation Senate Bill 247 Passes Texas House

Senate Bill 247, the “Stop the Darfur Genocide Act”, passed the Texas House of Representatives unanimously today. The bill has already cleared the Texas Senate and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk, pending a procedural vote tomorrow. Governor Perry endorsed the targeted divestment legislation in his inaugural address and State of the State speech.

The bipartisan legislation, led by Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale (R – Tomball) and Senator Rodney Ellis (D – Houston), has over 85 co-authors and enjoys tremendous support from both ends of the political spectrum. Religious conservatives and liberal activists found common ground and formed an alliance to pass the legislation in Texas. The bill is similar to legislation that has already passed in 12 states and is currently pending in 15 others.

SB 247 would require the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) to engage and possibly divest from certain companies doing business in Sudan who substantially benefit the central government, provide little benefit to Sudan’s citizens, and who have failed to address their role in indirectly facilitating Sudan’s genocide.

With an approximate value of $426 million in targeted fund holdings, the financial impact of the divestment effort on the Sudanese government is substantial. The amount represents about 0.59% of the assets under management by ERS & TRS.

Mark Hanis, Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network, said, “Today’s actions by the Texas House of Representatives, combined with overwhelming bi-partisan support for Senate Bill 247, establish the state of Texas as a leader in the fight against the first genocide of the 21st Century. Texans should be proud to help lead the world in making ‘Never Again’ a reality.”

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