Home » PA News

Pennsylvania Legislature plans divestment from Russia

Writen by Anthony Hennen

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is preparing to divest the Commonwealth’s connections to the Russian economy in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“I will work with my colleagues in the state government to stop supporting anything that helps Russia,” Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, said at a protest outside Philadelphia City Hall on Friday. “I pledge to stand with Ukraine and I will work to make sure that the legislature of Pennsylvania does so as well.”

Pennsylvania has the largest population of Ukrainian Americans as a percentage of total population in the country, and is second only to New York in total number. In a press release, Street announced that he will introduce a bill that requires public funds “to divest investments in companies doing business with the Russian Federation.”

The legislation will affect the retirement systems for public-school employees, state employees, and municipal workers, as well as the state treasurer.

“We must wield our economic power to ensure that Russia faces grave consequences for their flagrant violations of international law and human cooperation,” Street said.

The Senate will not reconvene until March 28, but Street said the process to pass the bill would go quickly with broad consensus.

“There’s been bipartisan support and there’s been companion legislation introduced by the House Republican leader,” Street said. “Few ideas have triggered as much bipartisan support because, quite frankly, this is a matter of right and wrong.”

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has also directed state stores not to sell Russian products, such as vodka. The Keystone State has been joined by New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Utah as of late Monday afternoon in pulling Russian spirits from state-run store shelves.

There hasn’t been talk of bringing Ukrainian refugees to Pennsylvania because most seem to go to neighboring countries like Poland, Slovakia, and Romania. “Certainly if it came to it I would welcome immigrants, refugees from Ukraine like I would many other countries,” Street said.

Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Bethlehem, also plans to introduce legislation to encourage municipalities to divest from Russia.

The divestment actions in Pennsylvania would follow other states such as Colorado, whose Public Employees’ Retirement Association withdrew more than $7.2 million from funds in Sberbank, a state-owned bank and the largest in Russia.

+ posts

The Center Square was launched in May 2019 to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and statewide news across the United States.

The focus of our work is state- and local-level government and economic reporting. A taxpayer sensibility distinguishes our work from other coverage of state and local issues. As a result of this approach, our readers are better informed about the focus of state and local government and its cost to the citizens whose tax dollars fund governmental decisions.

The Center Square is staffed by editors and reporters with extensive professional journalism experience. We engage readers with essential news, data and analysis – delivered with velocity, frequency and consistency.

Tell your friends
We'd value your comments on or questons about this post. Please leave one below or send us a note. Your participation makes Gettysburg Connection a community publication.