Walz signs bill to end state investments into Russian companies

Governor Tim Walz (FILE) (FOX 9)

On Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the bill to force the state's pension funds to sell their Russian and Belarusian investments.

The Senate and the House unanimously approved the vote, uniting around one of the few concrete steps they can take to show solidarity with Ukraine. Walz signed the bill into law Friday.

"Today, I was proud to sign this bipartisan bill into law to help ensure that our state does not aid the Russian government’s illegal aggression against Ukraine," Governor Walz wrote in the news release. "Ukrainians are our friends, family, and neighbors and we continue to stand firmly with our Ukrainian community here in Minnesota and abroad." 

The holdings, estimated to be worth $53 million before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, now hold less than $10 million in value now that Western sanctions have hampered the Russian economy. The investments in Russia and Belarus make up just 0.007 percent of the State Board of Investment's total fund balance. 

Minnesota's investment managers must divest 50 percent of their investments in Russian- and Belarusian-held securities within nine months. They can take 15 months to sell the rest of the investments.

Under the bill, state agencies are also banned from entering into contracts with Russian or Belarusian entities. Gov. Tim Walz's administration has not found any such contracts in existence.