GOP Leaders Push DeSantis’ Banking Bill Targeting Banks That Care About Worker Pay and Climate Change

Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

By Giselle Balido

March 20, 2023

The new legislation could give Florida’s attorney general the power to file lawsuits against non-compliant banking institutions, creating a severe problem for banks, especially small community institutions.

State lawmakers in Tallahassee are moving forward with a bill that could stop banks and investment managers from considering certain standards that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis considers part of the “woke” culture — such as carbon emissions, worker pay, and executive diversity — when deciding where to invest money. 

House Bill 3 includes provisions that would ensure that public pension plans and other state-controlled funds cannot consider “environmental, social and governance” standards, or ESG, when investing. 

Simply explained, ESG is a set of standards for a company’s behavior used by socially conscious investors. ESG criteria consider how a company safeguards the environment, including corporate policies addressing climate change, and how it manages relationships with employees and the communities where it operates, taking into account if workplace conditions reflect a high regard for employees’ health and safety, and whether the company donates a percentage of its profits to the local community, among other considerations.

Effect on Private Banking

The proposed new legislation, which comes directly from Gov. DeSantis, also aims to influence private banking. For example, if a bank refuses to finance a customer based on the customer’s “support of the state or Federal Government in combating illegal immigration,” it could face financial and legal retaliation. 

RELATED: DeSantis Goes After Companies ‘Imposing Woke Ideology on the Economy

But that is not where House Bill 3 stops. The newly minted legislation would also require any bank that wants to hold public deposits to certify under oath that it does not violate any of the new lending rules, giving Ashley Moody, the state’s attorney general, the power to file lawsuits against non-compliant banking institutions.

A Relentless War on “Woke”

Anthony DiMarco, a lobbyist for the Florida Bankers Association, has publicly warned lawmakers that HB3 would create a severe compliance problem for banks, especially small community banks. Di Marco even pointed out that banks often have non-ideological reasons for choosing to serve some industries and not others. 

This bill is merely a continuation and an expansion of DeSantis’ relentless war on “woke” culture. In August of 2022, the Florida Cabinet moved forward with DeSantis’ agenda to prevent state pension-fund investment decisions that promote “social, political or ideological interests.” 

At this time, House Bill 3 is up for a vote in the full House of Representatives.


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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