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Illinois

Illinois Senate decides to divest Russian state funds

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that would drain state funds from Russian assets.

Sponsored by Democratic Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, House Bill 1293 would divert Illinois state funds from Russian debt and develop a method for detecting Russian money laundering in local real estate.

“It is absolutely tragic to see the senseless pain and suffering inflicted on the people of Ukraine,” LaPointe said in a statement as he passed the law. “We have a moral obligation to stand up against Russian aggression, it is important that Illinois send a strong message and enforce new rules aimed at financially supporting Putin’s war machine.”

The legislation also gives the Illinois Department of Human Services authority to create a resettlement program for Ukrainian refugees. The bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives in April before reaching the Illinois Senate with bipartisan support.

“The essence of this bill is to follow up with Russia on the things we can do as a state of Illinois,” Republican Rep. Tim Butler said in support of the bill during its passage in the state house. “All you have to do is look at your laptops and google Bucha to see what has happened in this Kyiv suburb in the past few days since the Russians left.”

The bill provides for the sale of shares owned by Russia along with those of its ally Belarus. It specifically names Illinois State’s teacher pension system while urging public systems not controlled by the state to do the same.

Governor weighs himself in

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has previously urged state pension systems to review their portfolios in a bid to divest from Russia.

“Working together, our offices will advance legislation to remove all Russian companies from Illinois pension funds and ban contracts with Russia-based companies. Beyond these financial consequences, we will also join national efforts to help with this heartbreaking refugee crisis,” Pritzker said in a joint statement with Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Chris Welch in March Response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The bill, amended by the Illinois Senate on Nov. 16, will now be sent back to the House of Representatives for approval before going to Pritzker’s office for signature when lawmakers return to Springfield after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Bradley Martin

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Bradley Martin is the founder and executive director of the Near East Center for Strategic Studies. His byline can be found in notable publications such as Newsweek, The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, The Hill, The Daily Wire and The Washington Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @ByBradleyMartin

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