The Illinois General Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that includes a request for state pension funds to divest any holdings in Russia or Belarus.
The bill, known as the Money Laundering in Real Estate Task Force Act, was passed unanimously by both the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The request comes as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year and includes the passage that Illinois is a "welcoming state to refugees and immigrants" and cites the state's robust community of Ukrainians and descendants of Ukrainians.
In the bill, the General Assembly "urges the pension funds and retirement systems established under the Illinois Pension Code to divest their holdings in any companies that are domiciled in Russia or Belarus and that are on the list of restricted companies developed by the Illinois Investment Policy Board."
Overseeing the state pension funds' investments are the $60.9 billion Illinois Teachers' Retirement System, Springfield; the $23.3 billion Illinois State Universities Retirement System, Champaign; and the $23.2 billion Illinois State Board of Investment, Chicago, which manages the investments of the State Employees' Retirement System, General Assembly Retirement System and Judges' Retirement System.
David Urbanek, spokesman for the teachers' system, said in an email the system has about $4.2 million, or 0.007% of its total assets, in Russian investments and will reserve comment until Gov. J.B. Pritzker acts on the legislation. Beth A. Spencer, spokeswoman for the state universities system, could not immediately provide further information, but trustees at the March 11 board meeting did say they were considering divestment and that SURS' defined benefit plan had less than 0.1% in Russian holdings. An unsigned email from the Illinois State Board of Investment said Russian holdings account less than 0.05% of the assets the board oversees.