Rep. Wheeler: Illinois House approves bipartisan legislation to support Ukraine, take stand against Russia

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine on every aspect the State of Illinois has the ability to act upon and support the people of Ukraine. Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, is Chief Co-Sponsor of the legislation, House Bill 1293, alongside Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago. The vote was 114-0.

“Today we made unequivocally clear that Illinois stands with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in a meaningful, substantive way that also takes steps to protect Illinois from Russian-backed cyberattacks,” Rep. Wheeler said. “I am immensely grateful for the collaborative, bipartisan approach we took toward crafting this bill and urge our colleagues in the State Senate to pass it swiftly so that we are prepared to aid Ukrainian refugees without delay and reinforce Illinois’ cybersecurity in the face of foreign threats.”

Specifically, the legislation does five things:

  • Puts Illinois on a path to divest from Russian stocks and sovereign debt including money in our TRS and funds that Illinois State Board of Investment oversees.
  • Grants Illinois Department of Human Services emergency rulemaking powers so that refugee resettlement programs can meet the needs of Ukrainians with the goal of making it easier to provide health care, mental health services and English language assistance to Ukrainian nationals who are granted temporary protected status or refugee status.
  • Creates a Money Laundering and Real Estate Task Force charged with assessing the exposure of residential, industrial and commercial real estate sectors in Illinois to illicit Russian money.
  • Creates an Illinois Elections and Infrastructure Integrity Task Force to evaluate foreign actor interference in recent elections and make recommendations to prevent future interference in 2024 and beyond and to prevent cyberattacks on state infrastructure.
  • Requires every public institution of higher education to disclose to the Illinois Board of Higher Education any endowment or other donation from a source associated with any individual entity listed on the sanctions list maintained by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control or any company that is domiciled or has its principal place of business in Russia and is on the list of restricted companies developed by the Illinois Investment Policy Board.

With today’s passage, House Bill 1293 has advanced to the State Senate for final approval.

Rep. Wheeler serves the 50th District, which includes portions of Kane and Kendall Counties.