Unanimous Texas Senate support for divestment of funds from Russian Federation | Texas

(The Center Square) – All Texas state senators have signed on to a bill requiring all state entities to divest from any investments in the Russian Federation.

SB 1817 would require all state investing entities, including the Employees Retirement System of Texas, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and the Comptroller’s Office to divest funds from Russia.

The state senate is comprised of 31 members, including 30 senators led by the lieutenant governor.

The fact that all state senators support the bill, lead sonsor Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston. said, “makes it clear where Texas stands when it comes to totalitarian regimes like Russia that wage war on democracies without reason or provocation.”

SB 1817 would also prohibit any future state investments with the Russian Federation and allow a 90-day window for divestments to take place to allow for minimal losses.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar applauded the bipartisan bill, saying, it would “ensure Texas’ investments remain consistent with Texas values and don’t support authoritarian regimes or the violent dictatorships.”

Hegar also said, “As the world’s 9th largest economy and the nation’s top state for international trade, Texas plays a crucial role in maintaining global geopolitical and economic stability.”

After Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Bettencourt oversaw the drafting of an official letter sent to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. It was signed by all members of the Senate on March 2, 2022, and requested an interim charge to protect state assets. The letter facilitated an action the comptroller then took requesting the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company review all state investments in the Russian Federation.

SB 1817 codifies into law the comptroller’s actions. According to a May 2022 Texas Comptroller’s Office report, total exposure across all trust pools of capital into Russian Federation investments was 0% direct exposure and 0.001% indirect exposure.

“Comptroller Hegar has literally done 99% of the divestment and should be lauded for it,” Bettencourt said. “However, we must take the final step to protect Texas taxpayer assets from this violent dictatorship that went to war on a democracy and could change their investment rules at the snap of a finger.”

This article First appeared in the center square

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