While countries around the world impose sanctions on Russia, states are following suit. Now New Jersey may ban business relations with the country, according to a bill introduced Monday.
The bill, which was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, would deprive people or businesses associated with Russia and Belarus inadmissible for various business deals with the government. The state joins the long list of countries that impose such sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week.
Under the bill, New Jersey also cannot invest pension or annuity funds in companies or financial institutions affiliated with Russia or Belarus, or hold shares, loans or other equity investments in them.
“We need to target Russia’s economic pressure points to make them pay for an aggressive war against the free people and democratically elected government of Ukraine,” said Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, who sponsored the bill, the statement said. Sarla said New Jersey would be the first state to do so.
The bill makes inadmissible for those who decided to contact Russia or Belarus and included in the list created by the Ministry of Finance:
- participate in tenders or renew contracts with government agencies.
- apply for or renew the registration of public works contractors.
- receive subsidies for economic development from the Office of Economic Development.
- get information about tax clearance at the tax office.
- be certified by the Department of Community Affairs as an entity for urban renewal.
- be appointed by a government agency as a developer.
The committee unanimously approved the bill, authored by Sarlo and Senator Declan O’Scanlan, R. Monmouth. It has yet to be approved by the Senate and Assembly before it hits Governor Phil Murphy’s table.
On Saturday, Murphy tweeted his support for Ukraine, saying that “over the past few days, the Ukrainian people have shown that they will not bow to bandits like Vladimir Putin.”
President Joe Biden has imposed sanctions in partnership with allies around the world, including the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
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These sanctions range from a ban on banking and investment to a freeze on assets against Russian leaders, oligarchs and their families. The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Ministry of Finance has imposed restrictions on the two largest Russian banks and nearly 90 subsidiaries of financial institutions around the world.
Sanctions have been imposed on Russian elites and their families, as well as bans on new debt and capital from large Russian state-owned enterprises and large private financial institutions. The US government and allies have blocked some Russian banks from accessing the international payment system SWIFT. President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have also been barred from accessing any assets within the reach of U.S. officials, and no one in the United States is allowed to do business with them.
Katie Sobko is a reporter at the New Jersey Statehouse. To get unlimited access to her work concerning the Governor of New Jersey and the political power structure, sign up or activate your digital account today.