The Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee recently approved a bill that targets businesses with ties to Russia or Belarus, prohibiting them from benefiting from state funds.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. Dave Argall (R-29), gained unanimous approval within the committee.
The bill was proposed as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Argall’s reason for introducing the bill is because he says he represents communities that have a high population of Ukrainian-Americans.
“They’ve been telling me since the Russians first began their unprovoked and devastating invasion that they do not want our state government supporting these war criminals,” Argall says.
If it passes a full Senate vote, Senate Bill 282 would prohibit businesses linked to the Russian government from receiving state contracts, grants, or tax credits. The businesses would be identified by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department, which determines if they are owned or controlled by, or working on behalf of the Russian government.
Pennsylvania Senate Bill 282 Details – Restrictions for Associations with Russia and Belarus Act
Senate Bill 282 titled the “Restrictions for Associations with Russia and Belarus Act,” aims to prevent Pennsylvania from engaging in transactions with individuals or entities associated with the governments of Russia or Belarus. Here are the key components of the legislation:
- Definitions: Key terms are defined, such as “person,” which refers to any entity that is owned or controlled by, or acting on behalf of, Russia or Belarus. “Critical material” or “critical mineral” refers to materials or minerals of economic importance to the state or national economy that have high supply risk or lack viable substitutes.
- List of Persons Associated with Russia or Belarus: Within 60 days of the act’s effective date, the Treasury Department is tasked with publishing a list of persons (as defined in the act) associated with Russia or Belarus. This list must be updated annually.
- Restrictions: Persons found to be on the aforementioned list are barred from bidding on or entering into contracts with a Commonwealth agency, being associated with or renewing a grant issued by the Commonwealth, or receiving or renewing a tax credit offered by the Commonwealth.
- Notice and Challenge: The Treasury Department must publish the list of persons online, and individuals/entities on this list have the right to challenge their inclusion by providing proof of removal from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list.
- Critical Materials and Minerals: The Treasury Department is to develop a list of critical materials and minerals as identified by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Entities providing these critical materials or minerals to the U.S. government or U.S.-based businesses can be exempted from the restrictions.
- Exceptions: If money from the General Fund or awarded by a Commonwealth agency has already been used for a Pennsylvania-based project prior to the act’s effective date, it should be paid in full despite any restrictions imposed by the act.
- Construction: The act will not prohibit transactions authorized by the federal government or under federal law.
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