According to the Chicago Tribune, democratic lawmakers unveiled legislation on Tuesday that would prevent Illinois pension funds from investing in any companies that hold contracts to help build a wall along the Mexican border, as promised by President-elect Donald Trump.
Sponsoring Rep. Will Guzzardi, who represents a majority Latino district on Chicago’s Northwest Side, said the bill is designed to send a message that taxpayer funds should not “be used to help send a message of hate to immigrants in this country.”
“Walls aren’t terribly effective with keeping people out,” Guzzardi said. “What walls are, walls are symbols. And Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall with our border is trying to send a message that the people on the other side of that wall are dangerous.”
Under the legislation, the Illinois Investment Policy Board would conduct a review every four months to ensure the state is not investing in companies that receive federal contracts to work on the border wall. Last year, lawmakers approved legislation that required the state pension systems to stop investments in companies that boycott Israel.
Critics argue the focus should be on beefing up the state’s investment returns, noting the state’s $130 billion unfunded pension liability. Guzzardi counters there are plenty of companies to invest in that will help the state’s bottom line. He plans to call the bill for a vote in the House next week, but faces a tough deadline to get it through the Senate before a new crop of lawmakers is sworn in Jan. 11.
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