Alabama Senate passes what GOP calls strongest Anti-ESG bill in nation

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 7:24 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - State senators passed a bill that would prohibit state contracts with businesses that boycott certain sectors of the economy based on environmental, social, and governance or ESGs. Sponsored by Senator Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, Senate Bill 261 is among the strongest anti-ESG legislation in the nation to protect investors and funds in Alabama.

“I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the Senate for working to pass this legislation,” said Senator Dan Roberts. “The Alabama Senate has made it clear that we want businesses to focus on growing and expanding and not working to push any political agenda with left-wing ESG policies.”

If a company’s values don’t align with certain topics in the bill, it can’t do business with any local or state government. Republicans say this is to protect taxpayer money from being spent on liberal agendas and woke ideas. Democrats say this bill will hurt businesses in Alabama.

“Says you can’t do this thing or you can’t say that you use your first amendment right then we’re not going to do business with you,” said Senator Merika Colman, D-Jefferson County.

“This is a difficult topic. It’s one that’s at a national level that is ours to deal with in the state of Alabama,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed.

The bill specifies company that refuses to deal with, terminates business activities with, or otherwise takes any commercial action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, limit commercial relations with, or change or limit the activities of a company because the company, without violating controlling law, does any of the following:

  • Engages in the exploration, production, utilization, transportation, sale, or manufacturing of fossil fuel-based energy, timber, mining, or agriculture.
  • Engages in, facilitates, or supports the manufacture, import, distribution, marketing or advertising, sale, or lawful use of firearms, ammunition, or component parts and accessories of firearms or ammunition.
  • Does not meet, is not expected to meet, or does not commit to meet environmental standards or disclosure criteria, in particular, to eliminate, reduce, offset, or disclose greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Does not meet, is not expected to meet, or does not commit to meet corporate employment or board composition, compensation, or disclosure criteria.
  • Does not facilitate, is not expected to facilitate, or does not commit to facilitating access to abortion or sex or gender change surgery, medications, treatment, or therapies.

“I’m trying to figure out where in our state where these things are happening,” said Coleman.

“You are basically telling them if you don’t participate in it, we won’t penalize you. But if you get into an economic boycott, if you do participate, we want to penalize you. Something is wrong with that,” said Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton.

“I am proud to say that the anti-ESG legislation passed today is among the strongest in the country to fight the liberal policies that are influencing America,” states Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed. “With the passage of this bill, Alabama will continue to strive to be the best state to live, work, and do business.”

Following the passage, Republican Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth tweeted his support.

The bill now goes to the House for more debate.

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