SPRINGFIELD (The Center Square) – In response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Illinois Senate has voted to divest state funds from Russian assets.
House Bill 1293 divests the state’s investments from Russian debt. It also welcomes Ukrainian refugees to Illinois and develops a method for detecting Russian money laundering in local real estate.
State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe (D-Chicago) sponsored the measure in the House. It passed last spring but wasn’t taken up in the Senate until Wednesday.
“Innocent civilians, children, babies have been caught in the crossfire of a cruel and avoidable war,” LaPointe said when introducing the legislation.
LaPointe’s bill would require divestment from Russian stocks and those from ally Belarus. It names the Teachers’ Retirement System and urges public systems not controlled by the state to do the same.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker called on state employee pension systems to review their portfolios for divestment possibilities.
The legislation also gives the Illinois Department of Human Services authority to create a Ukrainian Refugee Resettlement Program.
The measure was amended in the Senate Wednesday. It now goes back to the House for concurrence before it heads to the governor for his signature. Lawmakers return to Springfield the week after Thanksgiving.
Several other states, including New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New York, announced plans to have their public employee funds either divest their holdings from Russian-controlled investment vehicles or cease any new investments.