Monday, September 18, 2023

Pennsylvania Senate Committee Advances Bill to Block Funding for Russia and Belarus Tied Firms

On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee of Pennsylvania gave its approval to a bill aimed at preventing the use of Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars to support companies with ties to the governments of Russia and Belarus.

The prime sponsor of the bill, Senator Dave Argall (R-29), made the announcement.

Argall, a vocal advocate for the Ukrainian community within his constituency, stressed the importance of this legislation. "My constituents of Ukrainian descent have been loud and clear – they do not want our state government supporting the war crimes committed by the Russian government during their invasion of Ukraine," stated Senator Argall.

The legislation, known as Senate Bill 282, seeks to bar companies from obtaining Pennsylvania state contracts, grants, or tax credits if they are identified by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Treasury Department as owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of the Russian government.

The bill's emergence comes in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in a devastating loss of life, including the deaths of over 100,000 Ukrainian civilians.

According to the 2020 census, Cass Township in Schuylkill County boasts the highest percentage of people with Ukrainian ancestry in the United States. Carbon County is also home to the Ukrainian Homestead of CEC ODWU Inc., an organization dedicated to the celebration of Ukrainian heritage and culture.

The bill will now advance to the full Senate for its final consideration.