FLORIDA — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced proposed legislation Monday that he says would preclude banks and other financial institutions from discriminating against potential customers based on religious, political, or social beliefs, with additional language to protect views on "securing the border, owning a firearm, and increasing our energy independence." 

What You Need To Know

  • DeSantis announced a proposal that would forbid banks from using "social credit scores"

  • It would also codify a requirement for state and local agencies to exclude ESG considerations from investment decisions

  • Florida would join several other states in passing similar legislation

In a statement, the governor also announced that the bill would forbid banking institutions from using "social credit scores" in banking and lending practices that would decide worthiness for loans, bank accounts, and lines of credit. Banks would also be prohibited from holding government funds if they "engage in corporate activism," according to the report. 

Additionally, state and local agencies within Florida are excluded from using environmental, social, and corporate governance in any investment decision, or requesting such information be part of a procurement or contract request. 

"Today’s announcement builds on my commitment to protect consumers' investments and their ability to access financial services in the Free State of Florida," said DeSantis in a statement. "By applying arbitrary ESG financial metrics that serve no one except the companies that created them, elites are circumventing the ballot box to implement a radical ideological agenda. Through this legislation, we will protect the investments of Floridians and the ability of Floridians to participate in the economy."

A flyer that was included in the press release said, "Everyday Floridians invest their hard-earned money to maximize profits and generate the most return on investment possible, but fear of retribution by the woke mob has resulted in the rise of 'ESG' factors." 

The move comes after DeSantis made updates to the Florida Retirement Systems Pension Plan policy to prohibit ESG-related concerns from being a part of the investment decision-making process. 

"Corporations across America continue to inject an ideological agenda through our economy rather than through the ballot box," DeSantis told reporters in January. "Today’s actions reinforce that ESG considerations will not be tolerated here in Florida, and I look forward to extending these protections during this legislative session."

The proposed bill would create a legal framework to enforce the provisions the governor called for in his January announcement, and is likely to pass in the Republican-controlled Florida Senate and House. 

With this proposed bill, Florida joins other Republican-led states like West Virginia, Utah, Texas, Kentucky, and Wyoming that have either already passed or plan to pass similar legislation.