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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 599        FILED ON: 1/13/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2898

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Martin J. Walsh

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to Congo conflict minerals.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk

Peter V. Kocot

1st Hampshire

Cleon H. Turner

1st Barnstable

John Hart, Jr.

First Suffolk

William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

Linda Dorcena Forry

12th Suffolk

Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex

Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk

Paul W. Mark

2nd Berkshire

Elizabeth A. Poirier

14th Bristol

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Bradford Hill

4th Essex

Tricia Farley-Bouvier

3rd Berkshire

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Gale D. Candaras

First Hampden and Hampshire

Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

34th Middlesex

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Michael Barrett

Third Middlesex

Anthony W. Petruccelli

First Suffolk and Middlesex

Sonia Chang-Diaz

Second Suffolk

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Robert L. Hedlund

Plymouth and Norfolk

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Carlos Henriquez

5th Suffolk

Barry R. Finegold

Second Essex and Middlesex

Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Ellen Story

3rd Hampshire

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Gloria L. Fox

7th Suffolk

Elizabeth A. Malia

11th Suffolk

William C. Galvin

6th Norfolk

Paul Brodeur

32nd Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Thomas J. Calter

12th Plymouth

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Thomas M. McGee

Third Essex

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Byron Rushing

9th Suffolk

Bruce E. Tarr

First Essex and Middlesex

Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera

10th Hampden

Katherine M. Clark

Fifth Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 599        FILED ON: 1/13/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2898

By Mr. Walsh of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2898) of Martin J. Walsh and others for legislation to prohibit the Commonwealth from contracting with companies that do not comply with federal regulations for the certification of minerals originating in the Congo.  State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. 

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 3982 OF 2011-2012.]

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act relative to Congo conflict minerals.

 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  Chapter 7 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 22N, the following Section 22O:

              The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

              (a) The Democratic Republic of Congo was devastated by a civil war carried out in 1996 and 1997 and a war that began in 1998 and ended in 2003, which resulted in widespread human rights violations and the intervention of multiple armed forces or armed non-state actors from other countries in the region.

              (b) Despite the signing of a peace agreement and subsequent withdrawal of foreign forces in 2003, the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has continued to suffer from high levels of poverty, insecurity, and a culture of impunity, in which illegal armed groups and military forces continue to commit widespread human rights abuses.

              (c) According to a study by the International Rescue Committee released in January 2008, conflict and the related humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 5,400,000 people since 1998 and continue to cause as many as 45,000 deaths each month.

              (d) Sexual violence and rape remain pervasive tools of warfare used by all parties in eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo to terrorize and humiliate communities, resulting in community breakdown which causes a decrease in the ability of affected communities to resist control by illegal armed forces and a loss of community access to minerals. Sexual violence and rape affect hundreds of thousands of women and girls, frequently resulting in traumatic fistula, other severe genital injuries, and long-term psychological trauma.

              (e) A report released by the Government Accountability Office in December 2007 describes how the mismanagement and illicit trade of extractive resources from the Democratic Republic of Congo supports conflict between militias and armed domestic factions in neighboring countries.

              (f) In October 2002, the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo called on member states of the United Nations to adopt measures, consistent with the guidelines established for multinational enterprises by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, to ensure that enterprises in their jurisdiction do not abuse principles of conduct that they have adopted as a matter of law.

              (g) In February 2008, the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo stated, “individuals and entities buying mineral output from areas of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo with a strong rebel presence are violating the sanctions regime when they do not exercise due diligence to ensure their mineral purchases do not provide assistance to illegal armed groups” and defined due diligence as including the following: determining the precise identity of the deposits from which the minerals they intend to purchase have been mined; establishing whether or not these deposits are controlled or taxed by illegal armed groups; and refusing to buy minerals known to originate, or suspected to originate, from deposits controlled or taxed by illegal armed groups.

              (h) In its final report, released on December 12, 2008, the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo found that official exports of columbite-tantalite, cassiterite, wolframite, and gold are grossly undervalued and that various illegal armed groups in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo continue to profit greatly from these natural resources by coercively exercising control over mining sites from where they are extracted and locations along which they are transported for export.

              (i) United Nations Security Council Resolution 1857, unanimously adopted on December 22, 2008, broadens existing sanctions relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo to include “individuals or entities supporting the illegal armed groups ... through illicit trade of natural resources”; and encourages member countries to ensure that companies handling minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo exercise due diligence on their suppliers.

              (j) Continued weak governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo has allowed the illicit trade in the minerals columbite-tantalite, cassiterite, wolframite, and gold to flourish, which empowers illegal armed groups, undermines local development, and results in a loss or misuse of tax revenue for the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The development of stronger governance and economic institutions that support legitimate cross-border trade in such minerals would help prevent the exploitation of such minerals by illegal armed groups and enable the hundreds of thousands of people who depend on such minerals for their livelihoods to benefit from such minerals.

              (k) Metals derived from columbite-tantalite, cassiterite, wolframite, and gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo are used in diverse technological products sold worldwide, including mobile telephones, laptop computers, and digital video recorders.

              (l) In February 2009, the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative released a statement asserting that use by the information communications technology industry of mined commodities that support conflict

              in such countries as the Democratic Republic of Congo is unacceptable and electronics companies can and should uphold responsible practices in their operations and work with suppliers to meet social and environmental standards with respect to the raw materials used in the manufacture of their products.

              (m) Notwithstanding the extensiveness of the supply chains of technological products and the extensiveness of the processing stages for the metals derived from columbite-tantalite, cassiterite, wolframite, and gold used in such products, companies that create and sell products that include such metals have the ability to influence the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo by doing all of the following: exercising due diligence in ensuring that their suppliers provide raw materials in a manner that does not directly finance armed conflict, result in labor or human rights violations, or damage the environment; verifying the country from which the minerals used to derive such metals originate, the identity of the exporter of the minerals, and that all appropriate tax payments are made; and committing to support mineral exporters from the Democratic Republic of Congo that fully disclose their export payments and certify that their minerals do not directly finance armed conflict, result in labor or human rights violations, or damage the environment.

              (n) It is the sense of the Legislature that the exploitation and trade of conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo is helping to finance conflict characterized by extreme levels of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly sexual- and gender-based violence, and contributing to an emergency humanitarian situation.

              (o) The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. This law requires those who file with the Securities Exchange Commission and use minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo in manufacturing to disclose measures taken to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of the materials and the products manufactured.

              SECTION 2.

              (a) A scrutinized company is ineligible to, and shall not, bid on or submit a proposal for a contract with a state agency for goods or services. (b) For purposes of this section, a "scrutinized company" is a person that is required to disclose information relating to conflict minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or its adjoining countries, pursuant to Section 13(p) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 where conflict minerals are necessary to the functionality or production of a product manufactured by the person, where the person has filed an "unreliable determination," as defined by Section 13(p) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, reported false information in their report whose requirements are described in Section 13(p) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, or failed to file a report as required by Section 13(p) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and which the Securities and Exchange Commission has, upon the completion of the commission's processes, determined that a person has made a report that does not satisfy the requirements of due diligence described in Section 13(p) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

              SECTION 3. Section 2 of this bill shall become inoperative upon the disclosure requirements termination date specified pursuant to Section 1502(b)(4) of Public Law 111-203.

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