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A prayer vigil for the people of Ukraine attended by Gov. Phil Murphy on February 28. (Photo: Governor's Office via Twitter).

Murphy directs state agencies to review interactions with Russia

Executive order comes as similar bill winds through the legislature

By Joey Fox, March 03 2022 10:01 am

Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order yesterday directing all state agencies to “review their authority to suspend or revoke licenses, permits, registrations, and certifications” of companies that are controlled by or heavily tied to the Russian government, which last week launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

“New Jersey supports the Ukrainian people and the freely elected government of Ukraine in their defense against Vladimir Putin’s aggression and brutal invasion of their sovereign territory,” Murphy said. “Our administration will immediately undertake a review of what we can do on the state level to increase financial pressure on the undemocratic regime in Moscow and to cut any state ties to the Russian government or its affiliated companies.”

The directive is similar in spirit to a bill proposed by State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) banning state entities from conducting business with Russia; the bill advanced through the Senate Budget Committee earlier this week and is near-certain to pass the full Senate today, but it still has to make it through the Assembly before it can become law.

“I appreciate the advance steps the governor is taking to implement the severe sanctions on investments by Russia and Belarus that are detailed in my legislation,” Sarlo said. “The governor’s preliminary work through this executive order will allow no time to be wasted while my legislation moves through the Legislature in an expedited manner.”

In addition to limiting state interaction with Russia and Russian-backed businesses, Murphy has emphasized the importance of protecting the Ukrainian American community, and sent a letter to President Joe Biden yesterday affirming New Jersey’s willingness to host Ukrainian refugees.

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