State Senator Pushes For Legislative Change Responding To Russian Invasion

The US flag, Russian flag, Ukraine flag. Flag of USA, flag of Russia, flag of Ukraine. The United States of America and the Russian Federation confrontation. Russia's invasion of Ukraine

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - Local leaders have been responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine by pushing for legislative changes here in Massachusetts.

State Senator John Velis is a veteran who completed two tours in Afghanistan in the last decade. He is now teaming up with House Minority Leader Brad Jones, to file a bill that would divest Massachusetts pension funds from Russian-baked companies.

Lawmakers had until Tuesday morning to sign the bipartisan letter as the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensified. Nearly 60 state representatives and senators ultimately endorsed the divestment request to state Treasurer Deb Goldberg and denounced Putin’s attack that will “lead to needless pain and suffering for the citizens of Ukraine.”

“By invading Ukraine, Putin has shown a blatant disregard for the basic principles of freedom, sovereignty, and respect for international law,” the letter to Goldberg states. “Continuing to invest our state pension funds in Russian companies constitutes tacit approval of Russia’s deplorable actions. Divesting our holdings in these companies, however, will send a clear message that the Commonwealth condemns Putin’s actions and supports the people of Ukraine, who have inspired the world with their incredible acts of heroism by standing firm against Russian aggression.”

Senator Velis isn't just leading the charge on Beacon Hill but also pushing local business owners to take actionable steps of their own. What's more the Senator also announced his state senate office will help gather supplies for the people who need them in Ukraine.

On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker said his administration is deliberating a potential executive order to break ties with certain Russian-owned companies.

To find out how you can help, you can contact Senator Velis’s office or call 617-722-1415.

WBZ's John Baibak reports

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