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Crist and board make a $1.27 billion decision

Gov. Charlie Crist and his two fellow members of the State Board of Administration _ Attorney General Bill McCollum and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink _voted today to approve implementation of a new state law that bans Florida from investing in companies that do business with Iran or Sudan.

The State Board will now have up to 12 months to divest Florida's holdings in 21 foreign companies identified by SBA staff that do business in the two countries. Right now, Florida's $137 billion retirement system has assets worth $1.26 billion in these companies, including owning $303 million of equities in Royal Dutch Shell. McCollum praised the new law and contended it was the right fiduciary decision because both countries are "terrorist" nations and investments placed in those countries could wind up being risky.

Also on hand for the SBA decision: Sen. Ted Deutch, the Delray Beach Democrat who helped push the new divestment law. "This is a step that will help defend our country and hopefully end genocide,'' said Deutch.