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Turkey Divestment Bill Passes Key Calif. State Assembly Committee

SACRAMENTO (Asbarez)— On April 20 The California State Assembly Public Employee, Retirement and Social Security Committee (PERSS) passed AB 1597 by a 5-0 vote, a bill authored by Assembly member Adrin Nazarian, which calls for divestment by the main state pension funds from Turkey.

Adrin Nazarian

Nazarian has championed the issue in recent years, which also enjoyed the support of principal co-author Senator Scott Wilk. Passage by the PERSS Committee is the first step toward enactment of the bill, which if passed by both houses of the state legislature and is signed by the governor, would prohibit new investments or renewal of existing investments in the Turkish government by the pension funds—CalPERS and CalSTRS.

Following an impassioned presentation by Nazarian, and additional testimony by Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) Chief Legislative Consultant Haig Baghdassarian, the chairman of the committee, Assembly member Freddie Rodriguez voted in favor of the bill, and was joined by four of his colleagues, Vice-Chair Travis Allen, and Assembly members Sabrina Cervantes, Ken Cooley and Patrick O’Donnell.

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