PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts Praise New Anti-ESG Law in Florida


Bill signed today by Gov. Ron DeSantis mirrors recommendations for states in just-released Heartland Institute report

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (May 2, 2023) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) today signed a bill (HB 3) that prevents the application of environment, social, and governance (ESG) when the state government makes investments. The bill also bans the application of a “social credit score” when financial institutions offer services to customers, and prohibits financial services discrimination because of one’s political opinions, affiliations, or speech.

The Heartland Institute recently released a report titled “Environmental Social, and Governance (ESG) Scores: a Threat to Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and the U.S. Economy.” That report contained several policy recommendations to counter ESG, including what was in the bill that Gov. DeSantis signed.

The following statements from ESG experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“This is the most comprehensive state-level anti-ESG legislation to date, providing all-encompassing policy solutions intended to protect businesses and individuals in Florida from coercive ESG implementation. The bill incorporates all of the state-level policy solutions recommended and endorsed by The Heartland Institute’s recently published ESG policy paper. No longer will financial discrimination on ideological grounds be permitted.

“Other states should use Florida’s HB 3 as a model for their own anti-ESG efforts if they intend to both protect the economic livelihoods of their states and safeguard the freedom of their citizens. Hopefully, this will create a domino effect in conservative states to further promote America’s sovereignty, free-market economic growth, and strike at the fascistic cabal of international organizations, Wall Street financiers, central bankers, and government regulators intending to assert totalitarian control over the globe.

“Though there must be additional efforts made at the federal level – in terms of domestic laws and foreign policy, as discussed in Heartland’s paper – this legislation is a very strong step in the right direct to combat the insidious impact of ESG upon American society.”

Jack McPherrin
Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

(McPherrin is the author of the Heartland report titled “Environmental Social, and Governance (ESG) Scores: a Threat to Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and the U.S. Economy” that was published in April, 2023.)

“Gov. Ron DeSantis is fond of saying that Florida is the place where woke goes to die. From now on, DeSantis can also boast that Florida is the place where ESG goes to die.

“DeSantis deserves major credit for putting his state’s money where his mouth is, considering that ESG investment scoring is basically now forbidden in the Sunshine State. The bill signed into law by DeSantis is the most all-encompassing anti-ESG legislation to date. Thanks to DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, Floridians are now protected from anti-American social credit scores. They also need not worry about large financial institutions, such as BlackRock, implementing anti-free market ESG scores with regards to all state and local government contracts.

“And then, there is the cherry on top: Due to DeSantis’ willingness to defend shareholder capitalism, Florida has now effectually banned the growing economic and social cancer that goes by the name of stakeholder capitalism.

“The Heartland Institute has been an outspoken critic of ESG for several years. We are glad to have assisted DeSantis on this monumental piece of legislation and we look forward to more governors following his lead on this significant and substantial issue.”

Chris Talgo
Editorial Director and Socialism Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“By signing this anti-ESG legislation, Ron DeSantis is protecting investors, businesses, retirees and the average American’s bank accounts and banking relationships, as well as their investments and retirement funds, from political manipulation by and for the benefit of woke, progressive corporate elites. DeSantis recognizes the harm that elites pushing ESG are doing to the economy, individuals, and the body politic as a whole.

“The Heartland Institute has long been fighting against efforts by corporate and government elites to reset the economy by supplanting shareholder capitalism, producing products and services consumers demand in pursuit of profits, with stakeholder capitalism, which is really socialism, under which companies are forced to promote the progressive political goals. Heartland’s recent ESG report is the culmination of our efforts, which have included,working with states to adopt anti-ESG bills. Florida’s legislation largely adopts the goals described and endorsed by Heartland in that report.

“Our ESG report explains why the dangers of large banks extorting social and political concessions from individuals or companies – telling people and businesses that they must adopt and support the liberal bank leadership’s goals and positions on controversial social and political issues. If they don’t, those people risk losing their ability to undertake normal banking, like having accounts, getting loans, and obtaining credit. It also examines the damage caused when large fund managers are allowed to use other people’s money to force companies to adopt ESG goals.

“As Heartland endorses, DeSantis’ Florida anti-ESG law says works to ensure that fund managers operate as fiduciaries. They are to manage the funds under their control to maximize the returns on investment and minimize losses, not use the portfolios they manage to fight climate change or promote equity. This new Florida law supports individual liberty and economic progress.”

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
Director, Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate & Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1984 and headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our website or call 312/377-4000.