Florida Cabinet Bars ‘Woke’ Investments of State Funds, Targets ESG: ‘We’re an Important Player in This’

August 23, 2022 Updated 2:47 PM ET

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida (Gage Skidmore).
Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2022 Student Action Summit at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida (Gage Skidmore).

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – The Florida Cabinet approved rules to prohibit political factors from being used to determine how the state funds should be invested Tuesday.

The DeSantis Administration is cracking down on the environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement. The ESG criteria determines investments based on political factors like the environment and social justice initiatives.

“I think the movement that we’ve seen to harness economic power to try to advance an ideological agenda that doesn’t have enough appeal to win at the ballot box is something that is very significant,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Under the resolution, Florida’s fund managers will be required to invest state funds in a way that prioritizes the highest return on investment for Florida taxpayers instead of considering political factors. ESG factors will not be part of the Florida’s pension investment management practices.

“We’ve got a big pension. We’re an important player in this,” he said. “This is a very important step.”

The approved resolution details that the State Board of Administration “may not sacrifice investment return or take on additional investment risk to promote any non-pecuniary factors” when making investments. The SBA is required to provide a comprehensive review on the governance policies over the voting practices of the Florida Retirement System Defined Benefit Pension Plan.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Office Jimmy Patronis, and Attorney General Ashley Moody support the resolution.

Gov. DeSantis Takes Stand Against ‘Woke’ Standards that are ‘Politicizing’ the Economy, Targeting Disfavored Industries

The governor took a stand against the ESG criteria in July and said the criteria is used to target “disfavored” individuals and industries to advance a “woke” ideological agenda.

“Do we want our society to be governed by some of the most economically elite and powerful interests in society?” DeSantis asked. “And I think our economy is going to be much better off if everything is not politicized. It used to be it wasn’t a political issue. You didn’t have to take positions on every little thing.”

The governor wants the state legislature to approve legislation prohibiting SBA fund managers from considering ESG factors when investing the state’s money.

He also supports legislation to prohibit big banks, credit card companies and money transmitters from discriminating against customers for their religious, political, or social beliefs.

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