New Illinois law requires state to divest from Russian banks and companies
Late in 2022, Illinois joined Minnesota and a handful of other U.S. states where legislatures have passed laws requiring pension and other investment funds to divest from Russian banks and companies. Both of the signed bills from the Midwest received unanimous legislative approval.
Under Minnesota’s HF 4165, legislators are requiring a complete divestment within 15 months of enactment of the law; it was signed early last year and applies to the countries and businesses of Russia and Belarus. Minnesota’s measure also calls for state agencies to terminate any existing contracts with Russian and Belarus entities and not enter into new ones.
Along with adding statutory language for the state to divest from Russia and Belarus, Illinois’ HB 1293, signed into law in December 2022, includes several other provisions:
- State colleges and universities must disclose endowments and donations provided by Russian companies.
- A new state-level task force will work to close loopholes in state law and practices that individuals, including Russian oligarchs, can exploit to launder money via purchases of high-end real estate.
- Another task force will explore policies to protect Illinois elections from possible Russian or other foreign interference.
Other state-level responses to the Russian invasion of Ukraine have included divestment-related executive orders from governors, directives from state treasurers, and independent actions from pension and investment boards.