Maryland lawmakers pass Iran trade sanctions bill


BALTIMORE (Baltimore Jewish Times) — Maryland lawmakers unanimously passed an Iran trade sanctions bill.

The state’s Senate and House of Delegates unanimously passed the Iran Certification Act, and it is expected to be signed in the coming days by Gov. Martin O’Malley and go into effect June 1. With its signing, Maryland would become the  fifth state in the nation to sign such a bill.

The measure calls for operations seeking businesses with the state to show by Jan. 1, 2013 that they are not engaging “in investment activities in Iran.” It requires the Board of Public Works to create a publicly available list of companies or people engaged in such business dealings, to update the list every 180 days, and 90 days before that to notify in writing people or operations about to go on the list, which would allow for a written response.

Several amendments lessened the measure’s impact on the financial industry due in part to their extending loans to operations that could have dealings of which they are not aware.

As part of the legislation, individuals or other nongovernmental operations cannot bid on services to the state if they provide goods or services of $20 million or more to Iran’s energy sector, or extend $20 million or more in credit to someone else for 45 days or more for use in the Iranian energy sector.

If information is falsely provided to the state, the person or operation can be subject to the greater of either $1 million or twice the amount of the contract for which the false certification was submitted.

“This is the strongest measure in the country because of the fine,” said Dr. Arthur Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Maryland joins California, Florida, New York and Indiana to pass such legislation.

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