Missouri State Treasurer pledges support for bill requiring pensions to divest from China, other foreign adversaries

Missouri State Treasurer Vivek Malek has pledged his support for a bill that would require government entities to divest themselves from any assets tied to China. 

House Bill 2143, the Foreign Adversary Divestment Act, introduced by Rep. Brian Seitz, R-Branson, requires “all public investments, from pensions to public college endowments, to divest from countries who the United States have either sanctioned or classified as adversaries.” 

If the bill passes, the countries banned for public investments would include China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria. 

Malek decided to throw his support behind the legislation because, he says, these countries represent bad investments for the people of Missouri, and it’s his duty to protect the citizens of the state. 

“Last December I led an effort to divest the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System from Communist China,” he said in a written statement. “It was the right thing to do because for many reasons, China is a bad investment.  

“When I was sworn in last January, I pledged to Missourians that I would protect taxpayers’ money. I did so because I felt it was the duty of the Missouri State Treasurer to ensure investments are safe while earning the best rate of return for Missourians. In keeping with that promise, I am proud to announce my support for Representative Seitz’s Foreign Adversary Divestment Act.” 

In a related effort, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson issued an order earlier this month putting a stop to the sale of farmland near military installations in the state to foreign adversaries. 

As reported previously by The Heartlander, Parson issued Executive Order 24-01 on Jan. 2. The order requires the state Department of Agriculture to approve any sale of farmland within 10 miles of a military facility to a country designated as a foreign adversary of the United States. 

After issuing the order, Parson said he wished he could go further, but this was the limit of what the law would allow him to do by executive order.  

“This is as far as an executive authority goes under the current law of the state,” Parson told the press. “Believe me, if I had the authority, we wouldn’t just be talking about banning farmland but all commercial properties by foreign adversaries regardless of rural or urban – because a commercial building in our urban areas in the hands of adversaries poses just as much, if not more, of a threat to our security interests than a rural farm.” 

Missouri now joins Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota and Texas as states that have enacted or proposed similar legislation. 

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