The Utah Legislature successfully passed a number of bills addressing concerns about using ESG in anti-competitive ways to distort the free market
Over the last year, Freedom Front held a working group with various legislators, AG Sean Reyes, and State Treasurer Marlo Oaks. Our biggest priority during the 2023 session was to ensure that Utahns were protected from the market manipulation taking place throughout our economy by third parties placing artificial constraints on the free market in the form of ESG. Four bills were passed that begin to address the threat for residents of Utah.
HB281 Social Credit Score Amendments by Rep. Cheryl Acton
This bill requires the Division of Consumer Protection to establish a system that allows a consumer to report a financial institution's or company's use of a social credit score; prohibits a governmental entity from using, enforcing, providing data for use in, or otherwise participating in the creation or use of a system that, based on a social credit score, discriminates against, advocates for, or causes adverse or preferential treatment of a person. This is a pretty easy bill for all to support. Or at least it should have been. Either way, it passed.
HB449 Business Services Amendments by Rep. Ken Ivory
This bill, subject to a few exceptions, prohibits a company from coordinating with another to intentionally destroy certain types of companies by eliminating their viable options to obtain a product or service; allows a person to bring a civil action for injunctive relief or damages for a violation of the prohibition; requires a court to award attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party in the civil action and prohibits a court from reducing damages in the action to an amount less than the actual damages.
SB96 Fiduciary Duty modifications by Sen. Chris Wilson
Requires a public entity to invest public funds in accordance with the prudent investor rule, addresses a public entity's proxy voting duties, and requires a public entity to provide the state treasurer access to proxy voting reports upon request.
SB 97 Public Contract Requirements by Sen. Chris Wilson
Subject to some exceptions, this bill prohibits a public entity from entering into a contract with a company that engages in certain boycott actions; prohibits a person from penalizing a company that agrees not to engage in those actions while under contract with a public entity; provides that a person who does penalize a company for agreeing not to engage in those boycott actions while under contract with a public entity interferes with the state's interest in administering state programs and maintaining commercial relationships.
SCR9 Concurrent Resolution Opposing Efforts to Weaken the Economy or Restrict Energy Supply by Sen. Chris Wilson
This resolution highlights how ESG investing harms consumers and investors; supports the state treasurer, AG, state auditor, and state agencies in opposing ESG investing; identifies the coordinated pressure campaigns from financial institutions and regulatory bodies; and calls upon Utah to defend consumers and investors from the harms of ESG investing.
HB425 Energy Security Amendments by Rep. Ken Ivory
This bill modifies the state energy policy to promote the state's energy independence by: promoting the use of energy resources generated within the state; promoting the use of clean energy sources by considering the emissions of an energy resource throughout its entire life cycle; requires a qualified utility to inform the AG's office when a proposed federal regulation would result in the early retirement of an electrical generation facility; and authorizes the AG's office to take any action to defend the state's interests with respect to electricity generation by a qualified utility facing a proposed federal regulation that would result in the early retirement of an electrical generation facility.