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Anti-ESG bill passes Indiana House with fewer losses expected for state pensioners

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Business, Environment, Government, Politics
Bank of America and at least five other large, national banks have said they'll align their lending portfolios with the Paris Agreement on climate change. (Mike Mozart/Wikimedia Commons)

A bill that aims to cut ties with banks and other financial institutions with certain ESGs passed the state House on Monday. ESGs are policies that consider the environmental or social impacts of their investments.

Those in favor of House Bill 1008 believe these institutions are discriminating against Indiana businesses like coal companies and firearm makers.

The bill originally would have cost state pensioners about $6.7 billion worth of returns over the next decade. But amendments to the bill brought that loss down to about $5.5 million.

READ MORE: Lawmakers try again to cut ties with banks that divest from coal, study says it could be costly.

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The bill no longer holds outside investment managers to the same rules as the Indiana Public Retirement System — which is only allowed to consider financial matters in its investments. It also exempted from portions of the bill funds managed by firms that resell companies for profit. Those make up about 15 percent of the state’s pension investments.

The Indiana Bankers Association and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce both oppose the bill calling it “anti-free market” and saying it “picks winners and losers” by excluding some institutions with ESGs.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.