The following is a press release from the Office of California State Senator Mike McGuire:
Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire’s urgent legislation to divest state public funds from Russia and Russian-state entities following the unprovoked war against Ukraine, passed its first Senate Committee today with resounding support
SB 1328 requires public pensions systems here in California – including the two largest in America, STRS and PERS – to divest from Russian and Belarusian assets and companies. The bill was approved with a 5-0 vote in the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee.
“The State of California has incredible economic power and strength and we must use this clout for good. The people of California will not stand idly by while an autocratic thug attacks the innocent people of Ukraine and attempts to destroy their livelihoods,” Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire said. “Democrats and Republicans alike are working together on SB 1328. The Golden State stands strong for Ukraine and we’ll do everything in our power to usher in debilitating economic consequences on Russia for this horrific and bloody war.”
As Putin’s war continues, US and European economic sanctions have put increasing pressure on the Russian economy. California is the world’s fifth largest economy and enhanced action taken by the State can help the people of Ukraine by putting additional financial pressure on the already beaten-up Russian economy.
It’s believed California has Russian investments approaching $2 billion, primarily in its pension funds. At this point there can be no excuse to invest in and support Putin, his oligarchs, and the Russian economy.
Russia’s economy, not even in the top 10 of world economies, is one of their big pressure points, and California should use its power to exert influence where it can.
“The free world has a moral obligation to help the people of Ukraine. This creates a legal one as well. By requiring California’s capital to divest from Russian assets, we can play a real role in helping defend democracy internationally,” said McGuire.
SB 1328 also asks private companies based in California to divest their investments in the Russian economy. In addition, the legislation would block the awarding of state contracts to any company that is conducting business with Russia.
The legislation, with 57 co-authors (and growing), can be found here. The bill will be heard next in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee in the coming weeks.