TALLAHASSEE: An effort in Florida to continue to keep State tax dollars from being invested in, or spent with corporations doing business with State Sponsors of Terrorism, including Iran, announced today that it will seek to amend the state constitution or revise and strengthen Florida’s existing state statutes requiring terrorism divestiture.
The effort is in response to provisions in the Obama-‐Iran Nuclear agreement that requires the Federal Government to use “all available authorities” the pressure states to rescind anti-‐terrorism divestiture laws or practices.
Said Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater,
“In 2007, I co-‐sponsored Florida’s Iran divestment bill (SB 2142), This bipartisan effort passed both houses of Florida’s legislature unanimously. Since the law’s passage, our State Board of Administration has divested more than $1.1 billion from companies involved with Iran, and 30 states now have similar measures that keep public money from funding terrorism.”
“President Obama’s pending deal with Iran is a direct assault on Florida’s divestment from state sponsored terror. What’s more, in the very text of its agreement with Iran, this administration, with disturbing clarity, memorialized its commitment to induce states into abandoning their anti-‐terrorism policies.”
The specific fine print of the Obama-‐Iran Nuclear Deal in Paragraph 25 says,
“If a law at the state or local level in the United States is preventing the implementation of the sanctions lifting…the United States will take appropriate steps, taking into account all available authorities, with a view to achieving such implementation.”
Florida is one of five states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Ohio – to announce efforts to put anti-‐ terrorism divestiture language in its state constitution through a vote on the November 2016 General election ballot.
Joining Atwater in the Florida effort, former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton, who co-‐ sponsored Florida’s existing terrorism divestiture statutes added,
“As a former lawmaker that originally co-‐sponsored Florida’s Iran divestment law, it is important to make sure that it remains in place and the best way to do that is give voters the opportunity to codify the law in our state constitution. We can’t let the Federal government force Florida or any other state to choose terrorists over taxpayers.”
A national survey conducted August 12-‐17 by McLaughlin & Associates shows tremendous support for the ballot measure. Said pollster John E. McLaughlin,
“There is strong bi-‐partisan support for this ballot measure as 4 out of 5 Republicans (81%); 3 out of 5 Democrats (60%) and 7 out of 10 Independents (70%) all said they would support such a ballot measure.”
A Florida Specific IVR poll conducted August 12th, showed even stronger support with 76.2% of all voters indicating that they would vote in favor of the ballot measure, including 71.6% of Democrats, 74.4% of Independents and 81.9% of Republicans. Depth of support is significant, evidenced by 64.4% of all voters saying they “strongly favored” the ballot measure. Evangelical voters polled highest in the Florida survey, with 84.8% support, of which 80.2% said they strongly supported the measure.
Mario Bramnick, Esquire, President of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition said,
“The faith community must unite in our efforts to place in our state constitution an expression of our values. The Iran Nuclear Agreement will be a disaster for the national security of America and Israel. Iran is openly committed to the destruction of America and Israel and we cannot afford to risk our future on an agreement that paves the way to a nuclear Iran.
Defund Iran will launch efforts in at least 15 states by the end of September and will work to put its anti-‐ terrorism amendment on as many as 25 state ballots at the November general election. Its National Chairwoman is Sarah Steelman, former Missouri State Treasurer, who first enacted a policy of terrorism divestiture for her state in 2006. Joining Steelman in the effort as Honorary National Chairs of Defund Iran are Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and former Colorado House Minority Leader Mark Waller. Both Mandel and Waller are veterans of the Iraq War.