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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2061         FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2483

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Byron Rushing

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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 relating to shareholder advocacy with companies doing business in Burma (Myanmar).

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Byron Rushing

9th Suffolk

Denise Provost

27th Middlesex

Jason M. Lewis

31st Middlesex

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk

Gloria L. Fox

7th Suffolk

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2061        FILED ON: 1/20/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2483

By Mr. Rushing of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2483) of Byron Rushing and others for legislation to regulate the investment of public service funds relative to the investment in companies doing business in or with Burma (Myanmar).  Public Service. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act relating to shareholder advocacy with companies doing business in Burma (Myanmar).
 

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

              Section 23 of Chapter 32 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding a new subdivision:

              ( _ ) No new investment funds shall be made in stocks, securities, or other obligations of any company doing business in or with the country of Burma (Myanmar). 

              (b) For the purposes of Section 23, the following words shall, unless the context indicates otherwise, have the following meanings:

              DEFINITIONS

              (1)  “Company”: any partnership, firm, association, corporation or other entity, or their subsidiaries.

              (2)  “Doing business with Burma”:

              (A)  providing goods, commercial services or financial services to the government of Burma or an enterprise in which the government of Burma has an ownership interest.  For purposes of this section, financial services include providing direct loans, insurance, underwriting government securities, providing any consulting advice or assistance, providing brokerage services or acting as a trustee or escrow agent; or

              (B)  participating in a joint venture or investment with the government of Burma or an enterprise in which the government of Burma has an ownership interest.

              (C)  “Government of Burma” includes any public or quasi-public entity operating within Burma (Myanmar), including, but not limited to, municipal, provincial, national or other governmental and military bodies, including all departments and agencies of such bodies, public utilities, public facilities, or any national corporation in which Burma has a financial interest or operational responsibilities.

              (c)   SUPPORT FOR SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTIONS

              (i)  For companies doing business with the government of Burma whose securities are held in the portfolios of the boards of the municipal employees’ retirement system, the Massachusetts state retirement system or the state teachers’ retirement system, the state treasurer shall implement the purposes of this act by filing shareholder resolutions and/or voting in favor of shareholder resolutions filed by other shareholders when those resolutions raise concerns about doing business in Burma, including requests:

              (1)  to report on company activities in Burma;

              (2)  to report on the full costs of doing business in Burma;

              (3)  to address human rights or drug trafficking conditions in Burma;

              (4)  to report on all named individuals and companies on the United States Specially  

                      Designated Nationals list or;

              (5)  to establish human rights guidelines.

              (ii) For companies doing business with the government of Burma whose securities are held in the portfolios of the boards of the municipal employees’ retirement system, the Massachusetts state retirement system or the state teachers’ retirement system, the state treasurer may co-file shareholder resolutions filed by shareholders of companies that do business with the government of Burma when those resolutions raise concerns about doing business in Burma.

              (iii) This section authorizes only those actions that comply with the relevant rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

              (d) NOTIFICATION OF COMPANY

              When voting for a resolution under Sec. 3 of this act, the state treasurer shall separately notify the company in a letter reciting the legislative findings contained in Sec. 1 of this act and stating that Massachusetts wishes to express its grave concern regarding the company’s economic ties to the government of Burma and its oppressive system, including the serious moral issues and the potential economic risk associated with investing with the government of Burma.

              (e) REPORTS

              The state treasurer shall produce a written report to the General Court of Massachusetts by July 31st each year describing the actions that the state treasurer has taken in compliance with this act.

              (f) EFFECTIVE DATE; SUNSET

              (i)  This act shall take effect upon passage.

              (ii)  This act shall be repealed on the date the state treasurer certifies to the General Court that the United States Secretary of State has determined that the democratically elected leaders of Burma are exercising the powers and duties of the offices to which they were elected.

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