(BOSTON, MA) – As a result of Russian forces launching an invasion of Ukraine last week, State Senator Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton) was the first legislator to introduce a bill on Monday that would call for the state’s pension fund to immediately divest from Russian assets.
“Massachusetts led the country back in the early 1980s when it required state pension divestment from any businesses that engaged in commerce with the evil regime governing South Africa at that time,” said Timilty. “I believe it is important for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lead the way again to oppose the war criminal that is Vladimir Putin and his barbaric government.”
According to an estimate from Pension Reserve Investment Management (“PRIM”) Executive Director Michael Trotsky, the Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Fund, the state’s pension fund, has invested approximately $140 million in Russian assets. Timilty’s bill, SD 3013, An Act relative to pension divestments from Russia, would direct an independent third-party research firm to review the funds and identify any holdings in companies with active business operations tied to Russia. Furthermore, the pension board would be required to divest from those investments.
“We don’t yet know the full extent of Massachusetts public holdings in companies that are engaged in Russian business operations. Therefore, the language in my bill calls for the immediate identification of any such holdings. In addition to identifying our current investments, and calling for immediate divestment, I believe it is crucial that we send a message, as one Commonwealth, that we are prepared to act against an authoritarian Government and stand united with the people of Ukraine,” he added.
“We have the opportunity here in Massachusetts to invest on behalf of the Commonwealth in such a manner that is consistent with our values,” said Timilty.
Due to the urgent nature of the current events in Ukraine, Timilty has filed this legislation with an emergency preamble making it law as soon as the Governor were to sign the bill.
“We look forward to a swift public hearing on this bill and will solicit information from the PRIM board on the extent of Russian business operations, both direct and indirect, in the Commonwealth’s current holdings,” Timilty stated.
“It is critical that we use every possible means to send a unified message that we will not tolerate the atrocities being committed by Russia. The citizens of the Ukraine are freedom-loving people, who we support wholeheartedly.”