INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are moving forward with legislation that includes sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
Senate Bill 388, which would block foreign businesses from purchasing agricultural land for farming purposes, unanimously passed the House Monday.
The bill includes an amendment, which the House unanimously approved Thursday, that would ban any Russian-owned businesses from obtaining real estate in Indiana for one year, starting in July.
“Hopefully as the first, we can be an inspiration to other states,” said State Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend), who introduced the amendment.
Dovark said he’s pushed for state sanctions against Russia since the invasion of Crimea in 2014.
His goal behind this amendment is to prevent corrupt practices by Russian oligarchs, he said.
“We’re able to start a new era in which we don’t become sort of passive participants in this international money laundering system, that we take a more active stance and make sure that we’re not enabling corrupt regimes overseas from laundering their assets through our state,” Dvorak said.
A growing number of states have since announced their own sanctions.
“It’s unusual,” said Nandini Gupta, associate professor of finance for the IU Kelley School of Business. “We tend to think of foreign policy is set by the federal government, not individual state governments.”
It’s hard to determine how much land in Indiana is owned by Russian-backed businesses, Gupta said. And though she believes any significant economic impact from this sanction is unlikely, she said, it could be a smart business move for the state.
“Given the current level of sanctions that’s going on in the Russian Central Bank, the different Russian banks, there’s also a potential economic risk associated with doing business with Russian companies,” Gupta said.
The amended bill needs to be approved by the Senate before it heads to the governor’s desk.