(Courtesy of Pennsylvania Treasury) Pennsylvania Treasury
(Courtesy of Pennsylvania Treasury)

The Pennsylvania Treasury began divesting its holdings in Russia-based companies last week.

HARRISBURG — The Russian invasion of Ukraine is spurring Pennsylvania lawmakers to draft legislation to require the state Treasury Department and the state’s three public pension funds to divest holdings connected to Russia.

Meanwhile, the state Treasury Department said it began divesting its holdings in all “Russian-based companies” last week.

The Treasury had $2.9 million invested in 31 Russian companies (mostly energy companies, a few telecommunications companies, and banks), Treasury spokesperson Samantha Heckel reported. The amount represents less than 0.01% of the total $40 billion in assets the Treasury directly manages.

As of Monday afternoon, the Treasury had completely divested $2.7 million from 28 companies and begun the process of divesting the rest, Heckel said.

Divestiture legislation was being drafted Monday in the House by Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) and in the Senate by state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia).

“We have a moral obligation to ensure that our public fund investments are not inadvertently supporting those who are engaging in an unprovoked invasion of their democratically elected neighbors,” Benninghoff said in a note to House members.

Lawmakers in 2010 required the divestment of investments related to Iran and Sudan.

In a memo to fellow senators, Street said the “aggressive and illegal invasion of Ukraine demands action.”

“We must wield our economic power to ensure that Russia faces grave consequences for their flagrant violations of international law and human cooperation,” Street wrote.

Reporter Ashley Adams contributed to this report.