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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a new measure formalizing a complaint process for organizations that claim they have been “debanked,” creating a pathway for extreme advocacy groups to use taxpayer resources to attack financial institutions that engage in ESG practices. The measure was couched into a broader financial bill, HB 989, after its standalone version, SB 1018, stalled in the state Senate.

Gov. DeSantis specifically called out the bill’s benefits to organizations like the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a group notorious for its anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Muslim work. The Florida Governor, who has taken millions in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry, touted the move as a step to “reject a global elite trying to force their ideology on us by capturing major institutions.” 

This legislation is one move in a series of attacks from Gov. DeSantis against financial institutions – the cornerstone of his failed 2024 presidential bid.

  • Gov. DeSantis has described corporations as the “woke mob” and accused financial institutions engaging in responsible investing as attempting to “weaponize corporate power.”
  • While Gov. DeSantis flip flops his position on climate change depending on when it serves him, DeSantis has been consistent on falsely blaming high insurance costs on ESG policies. 
  • Gov. DeSantis led 19 Republican governors to attack responsible investing, accusing “woke executives” at financial institutions of putting “their political agenda ahead of their clients’ finances.” 
  • In 2023 Gov. DeSantis signed a sweeping law that banned state officials from investing public money to promote responsible investing goals and prevent ESG bond sales. 

Gov. DeSantis’ move to double down on anti-ESG legislation puts the financial security of Floridians at risk, as well as the broader U.S. economy, as seen by other states’ implementation of these laws. 

  • Florida could face up to $361 million in debt costs if restrictions on responsible investing are implemented, beating out five other states analyzed in a recent study. 
  • After just 17 months of implementation, similar anti-ESG laws in Oklahoma have incurred $184 million additional costs, burdening Oklahoman taxpayers and threatening funding for critical public services and infrastructure projects.
  • Texas’ anti-responsible investing laws would result in up to $500 million in undue interest over the first eight months of enforcement, costs which would ultimately be borne by taxpayers in the state, according to a 2022 study. 
  • The Kansas State Division of the Budget projected reduced returns of $3.6 billion over 10 years for the Kansas Public Retirement System if anti-ESG investment restrictions were adopted.