Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely 2024 Republican presidential candidate, signed a bill Tuesday he touted as the latest salvo in his war against ESG investing, one day after the state's investment office announced a significant investment in clean energy.
The law requires the Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, to make investment decisions based "solely on pecuniary factors" and not include environmental, social and governance considerations. The board, which consists of Mr. DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and Attorney General Ashley Moody as trustees, oversees a total of $232.5 billion in state assets, including the $181.7 billion Florida Retirement System.
The bill passed the Florida Senate on April 19 by a 28-12 vote after passing the House of Representatives on March 24 with an 80-31 vote. It also punishes any banking or lending institutions for integrating ESG factors,
The announcement of Mr. DeSantis signing the bill came a day after the State Board of Administration announced it had committed $200 million to Blackstone Green Private Credit Fund III, the latest in Blackstone's series of green-energy credit funds focused on clean energy and the energy transition.
"In Florida and across the nation, we've heard from law-abiding small-business owners and consumers who've been denied access to financial services because of where they work or what they believe in," Mr. DeSantis said in a news release Tuesday announcing the signing of the bill. "Through this legislation, Florida will continue to lead the nation against big banks and corporate activists who've colluded to inject woke ideology into the global marketplace, regardless of the financial interests of beneficiaries."
In 2022, Blackstone announced the creation of Blackstone Credit's Sustainable Resources Platform, which is focused on investing in and lending to renewable energy companies and those supporting the energy transition, according to the manager's website.
Bryan Griffin, Mr. DeSantis' spokesman, would not provide a comment on the commitment in an email Monday.
Kent Perez, the board's deputy executive director, said in an email Monday: "All SBA investment decisions are made singularly and solely for the purpose of maximizing financial return, managing risk, defraying reasonable costs and diversifying plan assets."