SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — As Russia’s assault and bombing on Ukraine continues, politicians in Illinois are doing what they can to support Ukraine; by ensuring Russia is not profiting off of the state’s dollars.
Illinois Rep. Lindsey LaPointe (D-Chicago) filed a bill Thursday focusing on divesting from Russia and helping Ukrainian migrants.
“What Russia is doing, it’s horrifying,” LaPointe said. “Illinois is going to do everything that we can to stop it.”
The bill has three focuses. It orders the state to divest any investments from retirement funds from Russia and Russian owned companies. The bill would also launch a Money Laundering in Real Estate Task Force, aiming to crack down on any real estate tied to Russian investments.
“It creates financial pressure by making sure that we are not helping Russia right now.” LaPointe said.
Finally, the bill would also task the Illinois Department of Human Services to create a Ukrainian Refugee Resettlement Program to provide English language assistance and any other resettlement services to anyone from Ukraine granted temporary protected status or refugee status.
The bill has the backing of Illinois’ three most powerful state politicians.
In a joint statement issued Friday, Illinois Speaker of the House Chris Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, and Governor J.B. Pritzker said they’d work to advance legislation swiftly to remove Illinois from supporting any Russian businesses to “stop Putin”.
“We are hopeful that negotiations can bring about an end to this violence, but until then Illinois must stand strong for democracy and support the brave men and women of Ukraine in defending their country,” the three said in that statement.
United States Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has been alongside Congress in Zoom calls with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to Durbin, Zelenskyy requested a lot from the United States; some the federal government is working to implement, and some that wouldn’t be possible without consultation from NATO allies first.
“He made requests for additional help in dealing with the Russian aircraft that are hovering over his nation,” Durbin said. “We received briefings, some of them classified, which make it clear that our promise to provide surface-to-air missiles and other ground-based defense against these planes is logical and is likely and is underway.”
President Joe Biden signed a bill Tuesday which included $13.6 billion in new aid to support Ukraine. $6.5 billion will be used by the Department of Defense to deploy troops in the region, and $4 billion is earmarked for humanitarian aid for Ukrainians fleeing for their safety.