SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Echoing action taken around the world in response to Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, passed a comprehensive effort Tuesday to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Illinois and end state investment in Russian financial interests.
“It is absolutely tragic to see the senseless pain and suffering that has been forced on the Ukrainian people,” LaPointe said. “We have a moral obligation to stand up against Russian aggression, it’s important for Illinois to send a strong message and impose new rules that target the financial support for Putin’s war machine.”
“We’ve all witnessed the horrors taking place in Ukraine at the hands of Vladimir Putin, and his actions continue to threaten democracy around the world,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “What the Illinois House passed today won’t stop Putin’s war, but it ensures Illinois is collectively pulling every lever possible to support the Ukrainian people. I want to congratulate Representative LaPointe for her hard work on this consequential piece of legislation.”
LaPointe introduced House Bill 1293, which puts Illinois on a path to divest from Russian stocks and sovereign debt, including money found in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS) and funds directly overseen by the Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI). Systems not controlled by the state, including the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) are strongly encouraged to follow the state’s lead in divestment. Russia’s war ally Belarus is also targeted for disinvestment.
Additionally, the proposal would provide the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) emergency rulemaking powers to begin a Refugee Resettlement Program that could provide health care, mental health services and English language assistance to Ukrainians and others who are granted temporary protected status or refugee status.
House Bill 1293 also includes a plan to develop a Money Laundering in Real Estate Task Force that would assess the exposure of residential, industrial and commercial real estate sectors in Illinois to illicit Russian investments.
“I know there’s been a strong local response in support of the Ukrainian people, and I’m grateful for those who have taken time to donate to those in need,” LaPointe said. “There’s no place for this kind of violence in the world, let’s do our part as a state to make an impact.”
LaPointe’s measure passed the House Tuesday without opposition, and heads to the Senate for consideration.