Pennsylvania Takes a Stand: New Law Bans State Funding to Russian, Belarusian-Linked Companies

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HARRISBURG, PA — As the world marks two harrowing years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pennsylvania is taking legislative action. Senator Dave Argall (R-29) and Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity have announced a new law that prevents companies linked to the Russian and Belarusian governments from receiving state contracts, grants, or tax credits.

The law, known as Act 57 of 2023, was introduced by Sen. Argall at the onset of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. It received unanimous, bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Shapiro on December 14, 2023.

Act 57 of 2023 is a response to the collective outcry of Pennsylvania’s citizens, particularly those of Ukrainian descent who do not want their tax dollars supporting the war crimes committed by Russia. This law serves as a tangible manifestation of their voices and a firm stand against the erosion of democracy in Ukraine.

Speaking on the importance of this legislation, Senator Argall said, “We should not be investing in companies that support the attempt of Putin’s Russia to extinguish democracy in Ukraine.”

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity echoed these sentiments, stating, “I immediately ended the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s investments in any Russian and Belarusian entities after Vladamir Putin’s unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. I strongly support Senator Argall’s work to ensure that no state funds are given to any company connected to Russia or Belarus.”

This law is a significant display of Pennsylvania’s dedication to upholding democratic values and human rights on the global stage. It puts pressure on companies to reconsider their affiliations with the Russian and Belarusian governments, potentially impacting their financial and operational decisions. Additionally, it sends a strong message to these authoritarian regimes that their actions will not be tolerated by the international community.

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Under Act 57 of 2023, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Treasury Department will determine whether a company is owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of the Russian or Belarusian governments. If so, that company will be prohibited from receiving state contracts, grants, or tax credits.

This legislation comes in the wake of staggering human rights violations. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that between the start of Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022, and January 31, 2024, at least 10,378 Ukrainian civilians were killed and 19,632 injured. Military casualties on both sides of the conflict are estimated to exceed half a million.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova for war crimes, including the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia.

As Pennsylvania takes this decisive action, it sends a clear message to other states and nations, demonstrating that economic measures can play a vital role in protesting against international aggression and human rights abuses.

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