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Schaer & Coughlin Bill to Divest, Block Public Entities Conducting Business with Russia Receives Final Legislative Approval

Taking further action to condemn the unprovoked and premeditated war being waged against Ukraine by Russia, the Assembly voted 70-0 Tuesday in a special session giving final approval to bipartisan legislation (A-3090) to prohibit public entities in New Jersey from doing business with Russia, or companies tied to Russia and Belarus.

Sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex), the legislation will ban public entities from investing pension funds, accepting public contracts, or partnering with Russian and Belarusian financial institutions. The New Jersey Pension system represents $90 billion in domestic and foreign investments. This legislation will also ensure state pension funds are used to promote peace and security abroad.

“Coordinated sanctions have already devastated the Russian economy,” said Schaer. “Through this legislation, New Jersey joins the international community in fighting for Ukrainian freedom. No nation can stand alone, Russia will be forced to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty or risk total financial collapse.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have global repercussions, representing the greatest threat to peace and stability since the end of WWII. War will cost countless lives and cause unnecessary suffering as refugees flee state-sponsored terror. During these times of uncertainty, New Jersey is committed to using its resources to force an end to Russia’s illegal violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“Putin’s values and those of his sympathizers are antithetical to the principles of democracy and independence for which we as a country stand,” said Coughlin. “Working in complement to national and global partners to condemn this unprovoked war and support Ukrainians’ fight, New Jersey has made clear we will not be a bystander. Cutting ties as this legislation does sends not only a clear message by eliminating opportunities for trade and investment by aggressors but is a decisive action that will intensify the economic pressures imposed on and felt by Russia.”

The bill was approved in the Senate 39-0 and now goes to the Governor’s desk.