PRINTER'S NO. 35

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA


HOUSE RESOLUTION

No. 36 Session of 2007


        INTRODUCED BY D. EVANS AND NICKOL, JANUARY 30, 2007

        REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON STATE GOVERNMENT, JANUARY 30, 2007

                                  A RESOLUTION

     1  Establishing a select committee to study potential courses of
     2     action for Commonwealth departments, agencies and pension
     3     systems that make investments in, procure goods and services
     4     from or otherwise do business with companies conducting
     5     business in or with the Republic of Sudan.

     6     WHEREAS, The Sudanese government is engaged in ongoing armed
     7  conflict with ethnic tribesmen in the Darfur region of Sudan who
     8  rebelled against the government; and
     9     WHEREAS, In the course of combating the rebellion, the
    10  Sudanese government has used armed forces and armed militants to
    11  conduct atrocities against Darfurians, including many
    12  noncombatants; and
    13     WHEREAS, Atrocities include the murder of nearly 400,000
    14  people, displacement of 2.5 million people, razing of more than
    15  half of the villages in northern Darfur, forced starvation and
    16  enslavement; and
    17     WHEREAS, The President and Congress of the United States and
    18  the State Department have concluded that the actions of the
    19  Sudanese government amount to genocide; and

     1     WHEREAS, The State Department has reported that Sudanese
     2  government forces have pursued a scorched-earth policy to remove
     3  populations settled around a newly constructed oil pipeline and
     4  other oil production facilities; and
     5     WHEREAS, The United Nations International Commission of
     6  Inquiry on Darfur has stated that the Sudanese government is
     7  responsible for indiscriminate attacks, including murder,
     8  torture, forced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape
     9  and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and displacement;
    10  and
    11     WHEREAS, The genocidal actions of the Sudanese government
    12  have continued despite United States limitations on American-
    13  based companies conducting business in the Republic of Sudan;
    14  and
    15     WHEREAS, Genocide, enslavement and other cited atrocities are
    16  repugnant to the basic principles of liberty and justice
    17  contained in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the
    18  United States and in the Declaration of Rights in Article I of
    19  the Constitution of Pennsylvania, principles which are
    20  fundamental to the character of a free society; and
    21     WHEREAS, Certain Commonwealth departments, agencies and
    22  pension systems invest pension and taxpayer funds in, procure
    23  goods and services from or otherwise do business with foreign
    24  companies that conduct operations internationally; and
    25     WHEREAS, There is concern that certain foreign companies
    26  conducting business in the Republic of Sudan are providing the
    27  Sudanese government with revenue or infrastructure that may
    28  facilitate the atrocities; and
    29     WHEREAS, There is concern that certain foreign companies
    30  operating in the Republic of Sudan are providing significant
    20070H0036R0035                  - 2 -     

     1  revenue, support and arms to the Sudanese government while
     2  providing little benefit to Sudanese citizens; and
     3     WHEREAS, There is concern that the Sudanese government has
     4  funneled the majority of foreign direct investment from these
     5  companies into military expenditures used to perpetuate
     6  atrocities in Darfur while neglecting needed development
     7  projects in that region; and
     8     WHEREAS, There are reports that certain foreign companies
     9  with business ties to the Republic of Sudan are engaged in
    10  critical humanitarian and economic development efforts that
    11  benefit oppressed citizens of Sudan, particularly in the
    12  southern region of the country where the population is enjoying
    13  relative peace and attempting to rebuild the regional economy;
    14  and
    15     WHEREAS, The United States Government has failed to provide
    16  any clear guidance that would enable states to authoritatively
    17  distinguish between companies engaged in activities that
    18  facilitate atrocities and those that are aiding Sudanese
    19  citizens; and
    20     WHEREAS, The United States Government has failed to provide
    21  specific recommendations regarding what actions, consistent with
    22  United States foreign policy goals, states could or should take
    23  with regard to companies conducting business in the Republic of
    24  Sudan; and
    25     WHEREAS, The lack of Federal guidance persists despite
    26  repeated urgings of the largest public pension systems in this
    27  Commonwealth and numerous national organizations, including the
    28  National Conference of State Legislatures, the National
    29  Association of State Retirement Administrators, the National
    30  Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers and
    20070H0036R0035                  - 3 -     

     1  the National Council on Teacher Retirement; and
     2     WHEREAS, Commonwealth residents find the actions of the
     3  Sudanese government in Darfur to be repugnant to basic
     4  principles of humanity and in violation of fundamental
     5  principles of human rights and personal freedom embodied within
     6  the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of
     7  Rights in the Constitution of Pennsylvania; and
     8     WHEREAS, The Commonwealth recognizes the complexity and
     9  difficulty of determining whether particular companies doing
    10  business in the Republic of Sudan ultimately contribute to the
    11  benefit or harm of Sudanese citizens and likewise the complexity
    12  and difficulty of determining whether and to what degree any
    13  State action might truly affect the lives of Sudanese citizens;
    14  therefore be it
    15     RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives establish a
    16  select committee to study potential courses of action for
    17  Commonwealth departments, agencies and pension systems that make
    18  investments in, procure goods and services from or otherwise do
    19  business with companies conducting business in or with the
    20  Republic of Sudan; and be it further
    21     RESOLVED, That the committee consist of nine members of the
    22  House of Representatives as follows:
    23         (1)  The Speaker of the House of Representatives.
    24         (2)  The chairman and minority chairman of the
    25     Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives.
    26         (3)  The chairman and minority chairman of the Education
    27     Committee of the House of Representatives.
    28         (4)  The chairman and minority chairman of the Policy
    29     Committee of the House of Representatives.
    30         (5)  Appointees designated by the Majority and Minority
    20070H0036R0035                  - 4 -     

     1     Leaders of the House of Representatives;
     2  and be it further
     3     RESOLVED, That the members of the committee choose from among
     4  themselves a chairman and other officers as deemed necessary and
     5  draw upon their existing staff to assist in the work of the
     6  committee; and be it further
     7     RESOLVED, That the committee document the existing state of
     8  affairs in the Republic of Sudan, including, without limitation,
     9  the relationship between Commonwealth departments, agencies and
    10  pension systems investing in, procuring goods and services from
    11  and otherwise doing business with companies in the Republic of
    12  Sudan and policies of the Sudanese government; and be it further
    13     RESOLVED, That Commonwealth agencies and departments be
    14  directed to assist the committee in its investigation; and be it
    15  further
    16     RESOLVED, That the committee study the issue of what courses
    17  of action, if any, might be available to the Commonwealth to
    18  influence in a meaningful way the conduct of companies doing
    19  business in the Republic of Sudan; and be it further
    20     RESOLVED, That the committee report on the relative degree to
    21  which various courses of action might be expected to have a
    22  meaningful, positive impact on the lives of the oppressed
    23  Sudanese citizens; and be it further
    24     RESOLVED, That the committee study the question of how
    25  measures could be implemented consistent with Federal law
    26  regarding the rights of the Federal Government to conduct
    27  foreign policy; and be it further
    28     RESOLVED, That, if the committee finds that State action with
    29  regard to specific Sudan-related assets could favorably
    30  influence the behavior of the Sudanese government toward its
    20070H0036R0035                  - 5 -     

     1  oppressed citizens and is consistent with Federal law, the
     2  committee study the financial impact on the Commonwealth; and be
     3  it further
     4     RESOLVED, That the committee consider the following:
     5         (1)  Actions taken by other states with respect to their
     6     investment funds.
     7         (2)  Legislation enacted by or pending in the Congress.
     8         (3)  Information compiled by the Federal Government,
     9     especially the State Department, relating to the Republic of
    10     Sudan.
    11         (4)  Coordination among shareholders or other investment
    12     funds.
    13         (5)  The status and prospects of litigation pending in
    14     other jurisdictions regarding the authority of the states to
    15     pursue similar actions.
    16         (6)  Any other information the committee determines to be
    17     relevant;
    18  and be it further
    19     RESOLVED, That the committee have the power to obtain the
    20  necessary information from any group or individual deemed
    21  helpful in reaching a recommendation; and be it further
    22     RESOLVED, That in assessing potential courses of action, the
    23  committee be mindful of the fiduciary duties of the public
    24  pension systems, determine if any course of action conflicts
    25  with those duties and determine what steps the Commonwealth
    26  could take to ensure that fiduciaries are held harmless against
    27  all losses suffered by the public pension systems as a result of
    28  their compliance with a legislatively directed course of action;
    29  and be it further
    30     RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives and the Senate
    20070H0036R0035                  - 6 -     

     1  are encouraged to collaborate in the development of their
     2  respective committees, the holding of hearings and the
     3  development of a report of findings in order to work in a
     4  unified manner to address this issue; and be it further
     5     RESOLVED, That the committee make a report of its findings to
     6  the House of Representatives by June 30, 2007.
















    A29L82JAM/20070H0036R0035        - 7 -
See other bills
under the
same topic