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Gov Phil Murphy at the ceremony nominating Attorney General-designate Matt Platkin on February 3, 2022. (Photo: Office of the Governor).

Murphy signs Russia sanctions into law

Bill took accelerated course through legislature following invasion of Ukraine

By Joey Fox, March 09 2022 4:30 pm

A bill first proposed by State Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) just under two weeks ago that will ban state entities from conducting business with Russia or Russian-tied companies was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy today, capping off a heavily accelerated legislative process.

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“New Jersey cannot and will not stand idly by as a tin-pot dictator invades the free and independent nation of Ukraine,” Murphy said in a statement. “We are sending a strong message today to Vladimir Putin and his cronies in Belarus that their actions will not be tolerated.”

When Sarlo initially floated the idea for punishing the Russian invasion through sanctions, he did not yet even have a written version of the bill to send to the legislature, but that did not stop legislative leadership from quickly adding it to their respective schedules.

The bill advanced through the Senate Budget Committee last Monday and passed the full Senate on Thursday, and Murphy said on Friday that he would sign it when it reached his desk. The Assembly, which did not have a scheduled legislative session until March 24, skipped the committee process and added a brief session yesterday before the governor’s budget address to pass the bill; all three votes were unanimous.

As the bill was working through the legislature, Murphy also signed an executive order directing state departments to review their interactions with Russia, essentially getting a head-start on the more forceful sanctions imposed by the legislation.

State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said that her department had already started implementing the governor’s order, and will now “ensure taxpayer dollars are not supporting Russia’s indefensible invasion of Ukraine” in accordance with the new law.

“To date, we have assessed the pension fund’s exposure to Russian investments and are in the process of identifying what state contracts, if any, might have ties to Russian businesses,” she said. “We will use the power of our purse to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

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