Joining colleagues in the state Senate, the Assembly voted unanimously on an Iran sanctions bill preventing companies doing business in New Jersey from contracting with Iran’s finance or energy sectors.
The Assembly’s 79-0 decision on June 28 came three days after the Senate passed it 38-0. It now awaits Gov. Chris Christie's signature.
The legislation makes New Jersey the sixth state after New York, Florida, California, Indiana, and Maryland to enact such legislation.
However, New Jersey would become the first state to bring its sanction threshold in line with lower federal limits expected to be in effect by the end of the summer. Legislation requiring President Barack Obama to sanction companies that make an “investment” in Iran of more than $5 million (reduced from $20 million) has already passed the House and Senate and is now in conference before being sent to Obama.
Both bills had bipartisan support. The assembly version was introduced by Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Dist. 27).
McKeon said he proposed the state legislation because a nuclear-armed Iran threatens not only Israel and the U.S., but is a global security threat.
“We must stand together as Americans,” he told NJJN while on a break in the June 25 legislative session.
”This is a historic moment in our fight against the forces of international terrorism and tyranny and to bolster global security.”
Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Dist. 21), the legislation’s prime Senate sponsor, said the measure would hold Iran and its partners accountable for its actions.
“It shows that we in New Jersey can have a positive impact on world affairs,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do ethically, the right thing to do philosophically and the right thing to do economically.”
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Dist. 3) also signed on as a prime sponsor, noting the latest bill goes beyond a resolution he introduced last year urging more aggressive federal sanctions.
“By exercising the federal authority granted to the states by enacting our own state sanctions,” he said, “New Jersey’s message remains strong and clear: Until Iran confirms that it will curtail its nuclear ambitions and join in the pursuit of peace, we will continue to act forcefully to meet the danger that a nuclear Iran poses to everyone. “
The New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations helped bring together a broad array of backers for the bill, ranging from the Orthodox Union to the New Jersey Catholic Conference.
In the assembly, prime sponsors of the bill also include Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Dist. 21), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Dist. 37), Mila Jasey (D-Dist. 27), Annette Quijano (D-Dist. 20), and Troy Singleton (D-Dist. 7).