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Minnesota House votes unanimously to divest from Russia

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House voted unanimously Wednesday to divest the state’s pension funds from Russia, joining states across the U.S. in putting financial pressure on the country over its war in Ukraine.

Minnesota’s public employee pensions funds had an estimated $53 million worth of investments in Russia before its invasion of Ukraine. The value of those investments has fallen to less than $10 million, according to Democratic Rep. Sydney Jordan, whose northeast Minneapolis district is home to a sizeable Ukrainian American community.

“We cannot stand idly by while war crimes are being committed,” Jordan said before the 126-0 vote. She added that a yes vote was “a move for joining an ever-growing number of democracies in standing up to the atrocities committed by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in Ukraine.

“And not only because standing against tyranny is always the right thing to do, but because we cannot allow a single cent from our state to line the pickets of oligarchs who sanction the murder of innocent civilians,” she continued.

The bill, which also applies to Belarus, would also codify an executive order from Democratic Gov. Tim Walz that prohibits state agencies from doing business with Russian companies.

It now goes to the Senate, where approval is expected.