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Following invasion, House votes to ban Russian entities from acquiring property in Indiana

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Indiana House

The House of Representatives chamber in the Indiana Statehouse is shown.

The Indiana House joined a chorus of state, national and international entities Thursday seeking to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.

In a unanimous vote, Hoosier state representatives agreed to insert in Senate Bill 388 a provision barring any business entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation, or wholly controlled by Russian citizens, from acquiring by any means any real property located in Indiana.

State Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend, led the push to keep elements of what he described as Russia's "kleptocracy" from operating businesses or purchasing homes in Indiana.

"Our message today is that Indiana will not be a safe haven for ill-gotten Russian funds, nor for its oligarchs trying to find financial shelter in the wake of Putin's unconscionable invasion of Ukraine," Dvorak said.

"The people of Ukraine need our support," he said.

If ultimately enacted into law, the prohibition on Russian entities acquiring real property in Indiana would take effect July 1 and run until June 30, 2023 — though those dates still could change as the measure continues moving through the legislative process.

Dvorak's also unsuccessfully attempted to require the Indiana Public Retirement System divest its approximately $40 billion in assets held on behalf of Hoosier teachers and government employees from any company continuing to do business in the Russian Federation following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, deemed the divestment provision insufficiently related to the underlying legislation to be inserted in the proposal and the Republican-controlled House voted 65-26 to affirm Huston's decision.

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In addition to banning Russian entities from acquiring property in Indiana, the measure prohibits all foreigners from purchasing many types of Indiana agricultural enterprises and requires enhanced disclosure of large donations from foreign entities to universities in Indiana.

A final House vote on the proposal is expected next week.

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