West Virginia Signs Landmark Anti-ESG Proxy Reform Bill into Law

Environmental activists with the group Extinction Rebellion DC participate in an Earth Day
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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed a landmark anti-ESG proxy voting reform bill into law that will protect state-managed pension funds and other investments against activist money managers.

House Bill 2862, which was first proposed by state Treasurer Riley Moore, was overwhelmingly passed in the state legislature this session and signed into law by Justice on Tuesday.

The law ultimately protects state funds from being used by activist money managers to use proxy voting to advance radical environmental and social goals — also known as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) rules — through the shareholder proxy voting process.

The bill requires that the state’s investment boards cast votes based only on the financial interests of the pensioners and taxpayers instead of the ESG rules. The state’s investment boards manage the public pension and state investment funds, which are worth over $34 billion combined.

“West Virginia is once again leading the way to fight back against woke activists who want to use our state investments and retiree pension dollars to advance extreme political and social agendas that go against the best financial interests of our citizens,” Moore stated.

Moore — who has been leading the charge on the state level against ESG rules in addition to already announcing he would be running for Congress in 2024 — noted in his press release touting the signing of the bill that proxy voting has allowed shareholders to vote on key issues while not having to attend any of the corporations’ annual shareholder meetings personally.

However, in recent years, many of the largest asset managers, including BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, have used proxy voting to further ESG measures by pushing political agendas. Some political agendas being pushed include boycotting the fossil fuel industry, providing access to abortion care, and other leftist ideas under the umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As West Virginia’s state treasurer, Moore has been leading the charge against financial institutions boycotting the fossil fuel industry, which is one of the main components of the ESG standards. This led Moore to blacklist BlackRock, one of the world’s largest asset managers, and other financial institutions pushing the standards and trying to boycott the fossil fuel industry.

In fact, last week, it was announced that the West Virginia Board of Treasury Investments (WVBTI), which he chairs, outperformed the funds run by BlackRock and other firms blacklisted from doing business with the state last year for boycotting the fossil fuel industry.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at jbliss@breitbart.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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