Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and his administration just recently introduced bicameral proposal to the state legislature. The bill, according to Gov. DeSantis, will aim to “protect Floridians from the Woke ESG Financial Scam.” The bill proposal was announced in collaboration with State Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-FL) and State Speaker Paul Renner (R-FL).
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards have been enforced around the world in an attempt make businesses and even governments to practice more sustainable habits due to fears of climate change.
ESG rules have been a point of contention in recent civic discourse as nations such as Sri Lanka have witnessed political uprisings and demonstrations as inflationary numbers shot through the roof. In July, now-former President Gotabaya Rajapaska of Sir Lanka lost control of the government due to his decision to stray away from synthetic fertilizers in order maintain a higher ESG score.
This is what Gov. DeSantis is looking to stay away from in Florida.
“Today’s announcement builds on my commitment to protect consumers' investments and their ability to access financial services in the Free State of Florida,” said DeSantis. “By applying arbitrary ESG financial metrics that serve no one except the companies that created them, elites are circumventing the ballot box to implement a radical ideological agenda. Through this legislation, we will protect the investments of Floridians and the ability of Floridians to participate in the economy.”
Senate President Kathleen Passidomo gave her thoughts concerning the legislative announcement as well.
“Governor DeSantis and Speaker Renner have been leaders on this critical issue and it is wonderful to be with them today to discuss concrete steps the Legislature will take this session to protect the retirement funds of state and local employees by guarding against misguided ESG policies,” stated Passidomo. “We want our state employees and local employees – including many classrooms teachers and law enforcement who are part of the state retirement system – to have a strong retirement they can count on. We are going to make certain that state funds are managed to prioritize the highest return on investment, as our retirees and taxpayers expect.”
House Speaker Paul Renner went on to mention that “the goal of corporate activism seen in environmental, social, and governance investing (ESG) is to bypass democracy and transform capitalism to serve an ideological agenda," and that “we will not allow these martini millionaires to push unsafe and unsound investment practices that silence debate in the political process, weaken investment strategies for Florida retirees, and discriminate against any individual's beliefs. I am proud to stand with Governor DeSantis and Senate President Passidomo to put taxpayers, investors, and Florida retirees first."
The proposal aims to stop financial institutions from “discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs” and looks to ban the usage of “social credit scores.” It also looks to stop the usage of ESG standards in at both levels of Florida government (state and local).
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) introduced similar legislation concerning ESG regulations in December.