Senate passes bill banning socially conscious investments by state, sends to Gov. DeSantis
Rep. Erin Grall, sponsor of the House parental consent bill, debates on the House floor April 18, 2017. House photo by Meredith Geddings

Erin Grall
'This legislation is an attack on free speech and an affront to the free market.'

State and local governments soon won’t be able to make investment decisions on the basis of environmental, social and governmental (ESG) considerations — or invest in companies that do — after the Senate approved HB 3, a top priority for Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The party line 28-12 vote on Wednesday came after a debate in which Democrats argued the move interferes with private companies’ decisions and limits the state’s options for investments, boosting interest costs.

“This legislation is an attack on free speech and an affront to the free market,” said Sen. Lori Berman, a Lantana Democrat.

But bill sponsor Sen. Erin Grall, a Vero Beach Republican, said that ratings agencies that use “social credit” scores and ESG considerations when rating bonds shouldn’t be used to affect Florida’s bond ratings, and potentially, the state’s policies. DeSantis has argued those considerations are an end-run around elected legislatures, where public policies should be decided.

“It’s our job to make sure that we set the policy for the state of Florida and that should never be in conflict with the way in which our money is invested,” Grall said.

The bill now heads to DeSantis’ desk, having passed through the House last month on an 80-31 party line vote.

The bill also bans investment managers from issuing ESG bonds or inking contracts with rating agencies that use ESG guidelines in issuing bond ratings and bans financial institutions from discriminating against consumers on the basis of religious or political beliefs or affiliations or on a “social credit score.”

“What this bill says we’re not going to discriminate,” Grall said. “We should not be prohibiting people from accessing those services.”

DeSantis and the Cabinet have already begun to pull back from ESG-aligned investments. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis removed $2 billion of investments in BlackRock, an investment management firm, over the issue.

Gray Rohrer


7 comments

  • Russian Troll Earl Pitts

    April 19, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    There’s Grall again.. bringing the Catholic religion to a legislature near you. 100,000 mentally disordered meth babies and crack babies will thank her later…from prison or a battlefield in China. Will her children put the unwanted babies with bad genes on their plantation or will the mentally disordered people with bad genes grow up and come after her kids? I guess we will see.

  • Sqoo

    April 20, 2023 at 2:42 am

    This is blatantly unconstitutional. Hopefully it gets run up the legal flagpole fast.

  • JD

    April 20, 2023 at 7:17 am

    Just remember it’s OK for the baker to refuse making the same sex couple’s wedding cake, but a banker cannot refuse the factory that’s making forever chemicals or firearms.

    F@cking Hypocrisy.

  • Elliott Offen

    April 20, 2023 at 7:56 am

    Maybe someone will spike Grall’s communion wine with LSD.. then she would be woke. Instead of sacrament waifer..slip her ten hits of blotter acid.

  • It's Complicated

    April 20, 2023 at 9:31 am

    Do some research folks. ESG is modeled on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ‘social credits system’ which is a tool designed to transform society. The intent is for you to think, believe, act, spend, commit, and give the way the CCP wants. A low social credit score leads to a person being socially demoted which downgrades your ability to obtain employment, housing, loans, travel, access services, etc. There is no rebutting, no appeal, no avenue to address grievances. Sit down and shut up… conform or suffer. ESG is the foundational beginning of a cast system, and the proponents don’t hide the intent – they want to change behavior by using this tool.

    This sort of law prevents doing the same thing, here.

  • Keystone Keys

    April 20, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    The Democrats have to try to force the free market system, by the way, which the majority of them want to replace with soviet style command and control, to support these cockamamie schemes, because they cannot succeed in the free market on the merits of their ability to attract investors.

  • John Crider

    April 20, 2023 at 7:19 pm

    Pretty foolish to pull investments from BlackRock – they make money. Sure am glad DeSantis isn’t running my retirement portfolio – and whatever happened to small government!

Comments are closed.


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