The Maine Legislature killed a bill that would have placed investment restrictions on the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, Augusta, requiring the pension system to ignore "non-pecuniary factors" such as "environmental, social, governmental, ideological or political goals."
The bill introduced April 11 by Rep. Chad Perkins, a Republican, had little chance of success in a state where Democrats hold majorities in the House and Senate. Gov. Janet Mills is a Democrat.
Maine enacted a law in June 2021 requiring the $18.5 billion MainePERS and the state treasurer to divest fossil fuel investments by Jan. 1, 2026.
The Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing, which includes members of the state Senate and House, held a public hearing April 20 on Mr. Perkins' bill.
Michael J. Colleran, MainePERS chief operating officer and general counsel, testified that the bill was "unnecessary" and "would be unenforceable to the extent that it is inconsistent with the (state) constitution."
Noting that the bill would "restrict or prohibit" MainePERS from considering various ESG factors, Mr. Colleran said these matters "can affect the long-term value of investments, and to the extent they do, the constitutional fiduciary duty requires that they be considered."
The committee subsequently issued a unanimous "ought not to pass" report, defined by the state legislative glossary as placing a bill in the legislative file and notifying the House and Senate that "no further action is taken."
The House report was issued May 1. The legislative record shows the bill was referred to the Senate Labor and Housing Committee and was placed in legislative files on May 4.