Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading an 18-state alliance to combat “woke” environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment policies.
The alliance, formally announced Thursday, comes after President Joe Biden vowed to veto an anti-ESG bill that intended to roll back a Department of Labor rule allowing pension and retirement fund managers to weigh ESG factors when determining investments. The governors will lead “state-level” initiatives to protect “Americans’ financial freedom” by allocating state funds accordingly.
“Florida has emerged as America’s economic engine, with an unemployment rate consistently lower than the nation’s and the highest rate of business formations of any other state. We will not stand idly by as the stability of our country’s economy is threatened by woke executives who put their political agenda ahead of their clients’ finances,” DeSantis said in a statement.
The initiatives include blocking the consideration of ESG in investment practices and bond sales at the state and local level, barring “social credit scores” from being a part of the loan considering process, and prohibiting financial institutions in the state from discriminating against constituents on the basis of their religion, political ideology or social stances.
Other states in the alliance include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The alliance draws on DeSantis’ proposed anti-ESG legislation last month to “safeguard Floridians’ economic liberty,” which includes similar initiatives.
“At my direction, Florida has led the way in combatting the pernicious effects of the ESG regime by directing our state pension fund managers to reject ESG and instead focus on obtaining the highest return on investment for Florida’s taxpayers and retirees,” DeSantis said. “At the time I said we would spearhead an initiative to join with other like-minded states to send an even louder message to the financial industry that the American people have rejected ESG at the ballot box, and ideologues cannot and should not circumnavigate the will of the people. Today, we have delivered on that promise.”
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