The Idaho House on Wednesday adopted a bipartisan memorial condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Sponsored by Representatives Matt Bundy, a Republican from Mountain Home, and Colin Nash, a Democrat from Boise, the memorial says the Idaho Legislature salutes “the courage and determination shown by the people of Ukraine in defending their country against the Russian aggressors”. He also urges Governor Brad Little to “take all appropriate steps to sanction Russia.”
The Russian military’s assault on Ukraine continued into a seventh day on Wednesday, as countries around the world, including the United States, impose economic sanctions on Russia and its leaders. About 874,000 people have fled the country and countless more are hiding underground, the Associated Press reported.
“Russia’s violent incursion into Ukraine is inexcusable,” Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, a Republican from Oakley, said in a press release. “It is our duty as Americans to continue to work and support all countries fighting for the same rights and freedoms that we have enjoyed and defended for centuries.”
The House unanimously adopted the joint brief. A joint brief is not a bill but essentially a statement that has no legal effect. The Senate must agree with the memorial for it to pass.
“Now is a time to come together across party lines to express our support for the people of Ukraine, who are showing unprecedented courage in the face of Russia’s ruthless attack,” said the leader of the House minority Ilana Rubel, a Democrat from Boise, in the press release. “We stand with Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky, and against the perpetrators of human rights abuses.”
Lawmakers are also considering ways for the state to divest from Russia. Representatives John Gannon, a Democrat from Boise, and Bruce Skaug, a Republican from Nampa, introduced bills that would force state agencies to drop their investments in Russian currency and assets.
A bill would direct the Endowment Fund’s Investment Board, which manages the financial assets of several state agencies, to sell, exchange or dispose of Russian currency and investments. The other bill would order the Idaho Public Employees Retirement System (PERSI) to drop Russian investments.
Gannon told the Idaho Statesman that the state has invested millions in Russian assets. Gannon said it was “imperative” that the Idaho government support the “valiant” Ukrainian people.
“Besides, Russia is currently a lousy investment,” he added.
The House State Affairs Committee introduced the Gannon and Skaug bills on Wednesday.
This story was originally published March 2, 2022 1:01 p.m.