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This week in responsible investing, a controversial and dangerous bill in New Hampshire failed to clear a crucial statehouse committee vote, 65 members of Congress signed onto a letter opposing anti-ESG riders, and extreme Arizona politicians pushed an anti-responsible investing law that has already been vetoed by the Governor.

Over the weekend, the Hill published an op-ed penned by Unlocking America’s Future (UAF) spokesperson Kyle Herrig laying out the political risks of attacking responsible investing. 

From DeSantis’s defeat is a warning to all: Don’t go up against ESG:

Desantis, who has taken at least $2.1 million in campaign cash from corporate polluters, and Ramaswamy, who has millions in personal investment funds tied up in oil, gas and pipeline companies, were attempting to elevate ESG attacks to the national conversation. Their downfall should serve as a warning to others attempting to score political points instead of listening to the American public.  

In New Hampshire, two bills effectively banning fund managers from using ESG criteria when investing state funds had hearings in the General Court of New Hampshire. Both received strong public opposition, and the House bill, which would make knowingly using responsible investing criteria a felony, failed to clear its crucial committee vote with all members voting against it.

From UAF’s statement on the House bill’s failure: 

“Today’s debate shows that anti-responsible investing extremists have no answer for their radical proposal to imprison those knowingly using ESG criteria to invest state funds. This is a ridiculous escalation in the anti-responsible investing playbook, which will dramatically punish those just trying to do their jobs and hurt Granite Staters in the long run. We applaud the committee for voting against recommendation.”

65 members of Congress signed onto a letter urging appropriations leaders to remove harmful ESG riders from federal spending bills.

From the letter

“These appropriations riders follow a dangerous trend of political interference with investing choices at the state level that are antithetical to the free-market system that has made US markets the envy of the world. To protect the annual appropriations process from extremist culture wars that cost our constituents their hard-earned savings and safeguard our free markets, we urge you to finalize FY 2024 appropriations bills without these dangerous political riders.”

Meanwhile, in Arizona, the state Senate passed a bill to place a measure on the ballot to ban Arizona public entities from entering into contracts worth $100,000 or more with companies that refuse to do business with firearm manufacturers. A similar law was passed last year and vetoed by Governor Katie Hobbs. 

From the Arizona Bankers Association:

“When you increase the risk and decrease the number of competitors who can participate in providing the services to the state, to counties, to municipalities to others, you ultimately raise those costs.” 

Finally, UAF released new polling by Data for Progress showing both Republicans and Democrats support the proposed SEC climate disclosure rule and responsible investing.

  • Two-thirds of voters (80% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans) support the proposed SEC rule, which would require publicly traded companies to disclose information about direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The new polling also suggests that partisan rhetoric on responsible investing is not reaching a large portion of the electorate. While over half of voters say they have read or heard about ESG (59%), 40% say what they’ve heard is neutral and only 9% say what they have heard about ESG is mostly negative. 
  • Only 16% of Republicans strongly oppose responsible investing, while a majority of Republicans (64%), Independents (69%), and Democrats (80%) support the investment practice. 

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