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States and municipalities now have federal backing if they want to divest from Sudan.

President Bush on Monday signed the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007, which authorizes the divestment of state and local pension funds from companies that do business with Sudan.

The measure, which was approved last month by the U.S. Congress, also prohibits the federal government from contracting with companies that do business with the regime responsible for much of the genocide in Darfur. Jewish groups backing the legislation included the Reform movement, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs. In signing the bill, Bush pledged that “my administration will continue its efforts to bring about significant improvements in the conditions in Sudan through sanctions against the Government of Sudan and high level diplomatic engagement and by supporting the deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur.”

Bush’s statement included a standard caveat that the Constitution grants the executive branch “exclusive authority to conduct foreign relations” and that the executive branch would enforce the legislation “in a manner that does not conflict with that authority.”

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).

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