NO. 13. AN ACT RELATING TO DOING BUSINESS WITH BURMA (MYANMAR).
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The General Assembly finds that:
(1) J.R.H. 157, passed by this General Assembly in April 1998, expresses support for the efforts of the National League for Democracy in Burma and its leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Further, it requests that the Governor insure that no state agency, department or office of state government take any action that would undermine the efforts of the National League for Democracy to achieve its goals.
(2) Sound investment policy requires consideration of the risks associated with investment of Vermont pension funds in companies that conduct business in countries with oppressive, nondemocratic governments.
Sec. 2. DEFINITIONS
For the purposes of this act:
(1) "Company" means any partnership, firm, association, corporation or other entity, or their subsidiaries.
(2) "Doing business with Burma" means:
(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, 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.
(3) "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.
Sec. 3. VOTING ON SHAREHOLDER RESOLUTIONS
(a) 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 Vermont state retirement system or the state teachers' retirement system, the state treasurer shall implement the purposes of this act by voting in favor of shareholder resolutions filed by 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; or
(4) to establish human rights guidelines.
(b) 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 Vermont 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.
(c) This section authorizes only those actions that comply with the relevant rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sec. 4. 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 Vermont 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.
Sec. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE; SUNSET
(a) This act shall take effect upon passage.
(b) This act shall be repealed on the date the state treasurer certifies to the General Assembly 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.
Approved: May 10, 1999