California State Senate Passes Turkish Divestment Bill

Adrin Nazarian

California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian with Armenian Assembly Western Region Director Mihran Toumajan, Armenian Assembly Southern California Regional Council Member Helen Haig, and Deacon Daniel Aydenian

Author of the Bill Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian to Speak at Armenian Assembly National Advocacy Conference

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California State Senate passed the Turkish Divestment Bill, AB 1320, on September 11, with 33 out of 40 State Senators voting in favor and the remaining 7 abstaining, reported the Armenian Assembly of America. CA State Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-8), whose district covers California’s San Joaquin Valley, served as the floor manager of this bill. AB 1320 now moves back to the California State Assembly, where it has enjoyed broad bipartisan support, for a concurrence vote before it is sent to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.

Formally known as the “Public employee retirement systems: prohibited investments: Turkey” bill, this legislation was introduced and principally authored by California State Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-46). The bill would prohibit California’s public employment retirement agencies – CalPERS and CalSTRS – from making new investments or renewing existing investments in Turkish government-issued and controlled debt securities and bonds, pending U.S. government sanctions on Turkey for the latter’s state-sponsored denial of the Armenian Genocide.

In addition to Assemblymember Nazarian, AB 1320 was co-introduced by State Assemblymembers Laura Friedman (D-43) and Jesse Gabriel (D-45), principally co-authored by State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-25), and co-authored by State Senator Scott Wilk (R-21) and State Assemblymembers Phillip Chen (R-55), Luz Rivas (D-39), and Chris Holden (D-41).

Prior to this vote, AB 1320 was approved on August 30 by the CA State Senate Appropriations Committee, on July 2 by the CA State Senate Judiciary Committee, and on June 26 by the CA State Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement (LPER) Committee. Significantly, Armenian Assembly of America Southern California Regional Council member, Helen Haig, jointly testified with Assemblymember Nazarian about the moral and economic merits of AB 1320 during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote, while Armenian Assembly Western Region Director, Mihran Toumajan, joined Assemblymember Nazarian to testify before the Senate LPER Committee’s hearing and vote.

“On behalf of Armenian Assembly of America activists and members in the State of California, we extend our gratitude to CA State Assembymember Nazarian for authoring and shepherding this bill in both state legislative chambers,” stated Armenian Assembly of America Western Region Director Toumajan.

On Monday, September 16, attendees of the Armenian Assembly of America’s 2019 National Advocacy Conference will have an opportunity to hear directly from Assemblymember Nazarian about his legislative achievements in California, in addition to understanding his insights on the importance of advocacy. He will be joined on a panel with fellow Armenian Americans active in politics. Tickets are still available for the National Advocacy Conference at

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


NR#: 2019-037

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Ambassadors to Speak on U.S.-Armenia Relations at Armenian Assembly’s National Advocacy Conference

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Ambassadors John Evans, John Heffern, Rouben Shougarian, and Varuzhan Nersesyan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) announced that a panel of diplomats will share their insights on “United States-Armenia Relations: Democratic Reforms and U.S. Assistance” during the Assembly’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 16, 2019.

The speakers include John Evans, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia from 2004 to 2006; John Heffern, who was U.S. Ambassador to Armenia from 2011 to 2014 prior to his appointment as Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2017; Rouben Shougarian, who served as the Ambassador of Armenia to the U.S. from 1993 to 1999; and Armenia’s current Ambassador to the U.S. Varuzhan Nersesyan.

“We are honored to have such a distinguished group of Ambassadors serve on what promises to be a great panel discussion,” Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny stated.

The keynote speaker for the Advocacy Conference is David Bohigian, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) Acting President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who will be discussing “Economic Developments and Investments in Armenia.” Bohigian is the highest ranking Armenian American official in the Administration and traveled to Armenia last year in his official capacity. OPIC has helped finance numerous projects in Armenia over the years.

Other panels include “Religious Freedom in Turkey and the Middle East” and “The Importance of Advocacy.”

In addition to the National Advocacy Conference and Gala honoring Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) on Monday, September 16, the following day on September 17 will include congressional meetings capped with a reception on Capitol Hill celebrating U.S.-Armenia relations.

Tickets are available online at For more information on the National Advocacy Conference, visit

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.


NR# 2019-036

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