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Maine considers antiterror measure

PORTLAND, Maine — State legislators are considering a bill that aims to fight back at terrorism by cutting ties to businesses that benefit from countries that have given support to terrorist acts.

A legislative committee held a public hearing Monday on a bill that would prohibit the state, state universities and colleges, and Maine municipalities from doing business with companies that have dealings with other companies that do business with countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism.

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The countries now listed as such by the federal government are Cuba, Syria, Iran, and ­Sudan.

The Maine bill was introduced prior to the Boston Marathon, but the bombings have given it heightened exposure, said House Republican leader Kenneth Fredette of Newport, one of the bill’s cosponsors.

‘‘Terrorism is part of the world we live in today, and, unfortunately, it’s domestic as well as international,’’ Fredette said. ‘‘I think this is a bill that sends a message that we aren’t going to be supportive of those countries that harbor or are terrorist countries.’’

Besides prohibiting state government and municipalities from doing business with companies that have dealings with other companies that do business in those countries, the law would also require that counties and school boards adopt similar policies by 2014.

The US Department of State designates countries as state sponsors of terrorism if it is ­determined they have provided repeated support for acts of international terrorism.

In some circumstances, companies that do business with those countries can offer the best prices for goods or services, said Representative Terry Hayes, Democrat of Buckfield, who introduced the bill.

‘‘However, in the days following 9/11 and the recent tragedies of Boston, it is not respon­sible for our government to purchase from companies ­involved with the terrorist network,’’ Hayes said Monday ­before the State and Local ­Government Committee, according to a copy of her testimony.

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