State lawmakers quickly banned the New Jersey Public Employees Pension Fund from investing in any company that has close financial ties to the Russian government in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
The full Senate is scheduled to vote later this week as the stock sells, which will cover companies owned or controlled by Russia or Belarus, a neighboring ally that supports the invasion.
The same bill, which was easily approved by a key Senate committee on Monday, also prohibits New Jersey state and local governments from having other business or banking ties with Russia, Belarus, or companies affiliated with their governments.
“We need to target Russia’s economic pressure points to make them pay the price for starting an aggressive war against the free people and the democratically elected government of Ukraine,” said Senator Paul Sarlo, a Democrat from Bergen who heads the Senate budget. and the Appropriations Committee.
Meanwhile, Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoyo said her department had already begun assessing any business or other financial ties with Russia or any state-owned Russian business in response to an invasion ordered by President Vladimir Putin last week.
The goal, she said, is to “determine what actions, if any, can be taken so that taxpayer dollars do not help support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
The federal government in coordination with European allies announced Fr. a series of economic sanctions against Russia and Putin himself in response to military aggression.
The State Assembly on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Russia’s invasion and expressing support for the Ukrainian people and their resistance.
There are precedents for disconnection
A separate piece of legislation scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Thursday will add Russia and Belarus to the list of countries where any financial ties involving the state pension fund of civil servants of $ 93.8 billion are prohibited by law.
The list already includes companies that are doing business with Iran as it pursues nuclear ambitions, and the Khartoum regime in Sudan in response to the treatment of villagers in the Darfur region more than a decade ago.
The 2016 law also banned investment ties with companies involved in economic boycotts protesting against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The law was passed last year in response to a decision by Vermont ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling products in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
But even if lawmakers have imposed such restrictions, pension fund managers may need time to determine which investments may violate the legal ban and whether immediate action can be taken to get rid of the investment.
The new proposal to ban investment ties with Russia and Belarus will require a report detailing any existing financial ties that violate the proposed ban within 90 days of the investment ministry’s bill.
The law will also require “selling, buying, selling or revoking” any investments that run counter to the proposed ban, within two years of the ban taking effect.
The investment ban will remain in effect for four years after it was passed, according to a bill that was also introduced to the Assembly when Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) and Republican Party leader John DiMayo (R-Warren) signed as sponsors .
Send a “strong message”
The purpose of the allocation of capital and other economic sanctions is “to send a strong message to oligarchs and other government officials that their leader has crossed the border with his war in Ukraine, which the international community will not suffer,” said Senator Declan. O’Scanlon (R-Manmouth).
“Putin may be able to control the flow of information inside Russia, but he will not be able to protect his nation from the economic impact of sanctions and foreclosures by governments around the world, including New Jersey,” said Scanlan, who performs responsibilities of the Budget Officer in the GOP Senate Assembly.
Meanwhile, Muoio said she had already sent the Investment Division to assess the pension fund’s current risk to any Russian securities and promised that “the Division will take the necessary measures to protect the interests of the fund’s beneficiaries.”
According to Finance Ministry officials, an initial review identified investments worth about $ 50 million earlier this week.
For his part, Governor Phil Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany, said he touched the base with Muoio amid an initial outbreak of violence to begin an immediate assessment of any financial ties the state may have with Russia.
“This process is underway,” the governor said Monday during a news conference in Glen Ridge to discuss New Jersey Transit rates.
During Fr. Public radio interview last weekMurphy called Putin a “bandit” and a “corruption leader,” and praised President Joe Biden for imposing economic sanctions at the federal level.
“I think if you’ve been watching me for the last week, it’s pretty clear how we treat Vladimir Putin and the Russians, and how passionately we treat our Ukrainian brothers and sisters,” Murphy told a news conference in Monday.