Hwang champions legislation against international terrorism


State Rep. Tony Hwang and the Jewish Federation of Connecticut support legislation against international terrorism. Shown, from left, are Gary Jones of the Anti-Defamation League, Rob Lesser of the Jewish Federation, Hwang, Robert Fishman of the Jewish Federation and state Rep. Brian Becker.

State Rep. Tony Hwang  joined fellow legislators and the Jewish Federation of Connecticut (JFACT) to champion passage of legislation to prevent entities with investments in Iran from doing business with Connecticut.

The goal is to fight against international terrorism through business and social intervention. Public Act 13-162 prohibits state and quasi-public agencies from entering into, renewing, or amending a large state contract with any “entity” that fails to certify that it has not directly invested $20 million or more in Iran’s energy sector or certifies that it has made, renewed or increased such an investment.

“On behalf of JFACT and all the other organizations, including UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran), who are concerned about Iran marching forward to become a Nuclear nation, I applaud Rep. Tony Hwang for joining this critical bi-partisan effort in CT,” said Bob Fishman, JFACT executive director. “To make a clear statement that those business entities cannot do business with the great state of Connecticut if they continue doing business with the government of Iran.

“It is a regime that abuses the human rights of its own citizens as it is a government that does not grant equal rights to women and is hostile to its minority citizens,” Fishman said. “Freedom of cultural expression and true freedom of religion are nonexistent in Iran today. We believe the people of Iran deserve better. JFACT looks forward to working together with Rep. Hwang and the General Assembly legislators in the future. I cannot stress enough the importance of legislation like this to help in preventing future terrorist attacks.”

Rabbi James Prosnit of Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport and Fairfield offered a community perspective on the importance of PA 13-162 to combating international terrorism.

“I am very pleased that Rep. Hwang and the bipartisan Connecticut General Assembly have joined with the Jewish Federation of Connecticut to pass this legislation,” Prosnit said. “Such economic pressure does have impact on a regime that time and again has proven a threat to neighboring countries, especially Israel, and an abuser of the human rights of its own citizens. Any and all efforts are welcome to stop the dangerous and destabilizing effects that Iran’s nuclear ambitions have on the entire region.”

Hwang worked in a bipartisan effort with legislators and various governmental agencies toward approval of PA 13-162.

“As the ranking leader of the Government Administration and Election Committee, I am privileged to work with the advocates from the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut and its affiliates to help guide the passage of this symbolic and economic policy statement against international terrorism and threat to religious sovereignty,” Hwang said. “Commitment to human rights and the fight against terrorism is equally important to our state government along with federal and international efforts. Our state activism reflects our effort to practice — thinking globally and acting locally. We need to emphasize this bill is a statement against the current regime of the Iranian government, not the invaluable contributions and proud spirit of the Persian people and the religious beliefs they practice.”

The new act takes effect Oct. 1.

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