The College Democrats of Massachusetts (CDM) have announced their support for the divestment of the public pension fund from the fossil fuel industry, calling upon state legislators to move Massachusetts Senate Bill 1225 forward for a vote. In doing so they have positioned themselves at the forefront of a global movement spanning college campuses, religious congregations and town halls.
S.1225 calls for the Commonwealth’s $54 billion public fund to “sell, redeem, divest or withdraw all publicly-traded securities” from “fossil fuel companies in which the fund owns direct or indirect holdings.” S.1225 would also enact safeguards to ensure a responsible transition within the portfolio, abiding by a five-year plan featuring annual twenty-percent reductions in targeted investments and a cessation mechanism in the event of clear evidence that divestment results in a decline in total value to 99.5 percent.
This move comes on the heels of CDM’s announcement of the creation of a caucus system. Intended to more accurately reflect the coalition-based nature of the Democratic Party, the caucus program enables chapters to engage like-minded student organizations and individuals on their respective campuses. Through building a network of advocacy groups across the state, CDM hopes to support candidates and legislation that promote their interests, such as in the case of S.1225.
“Massachusetts is a global leader in clean energy and climate policy. Divestment aligns our investments with our commitment to tackling climate change,” says CDM Environmental Caucus Chair Austin Williams. “Massachusetts has a unique history of leading on moral issues. We led the way on same-sex marriage. We led the way on health care reform. In 1982 we became the first state to divest from South Africa, with twenty-five states and the federal government following suit. It’s time now for us to continue this tradition of bold leadership and moral clarity through divestment from the fossil-fuel industry.”
S.1225 currently resides within the Joint Committee on Public Service, which oversees legislation pertaining towards the pension fund. Yesterday the committee extended the reporting date to July 31st, the end of the legislative session for the 188th General Court.
This week the Environmental Caucus will be launching a social media campaign to raise awareness for the bill using the hashtag #DivestMA. Use this hashtag to tweet out your support to the cause and tell Massachusetts why it’s time to divest from fossil fuels. You can follow the Environmental Caucus at@CDMEnvironment and CDM at @collegedemsofma.