MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama legislators on Thursday advanced a bill that would prohibit the state from contracting with companies that refuse to work with fossil fuel businesses and gunmakers.
The measure, which cleared the Alabama Senate on a 27-8 vote, is part of a wave of legislation introduced in other conservative states and the federal government targeting investing based on environmental, social and governance, or ESG, factors. The bill now moves to the state’s House of Representatives.
Republican supporters said ESG investment strategies promote a liberal agenda over returns. The bill would require companies doing business with state entities to provide written verification that the company will not participate in “boycotts” of timber, mining, fossil fuel and firearm industries. It would require that same confirmation when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and stances on abortion and transgender care access.
“The Alabama Senate has made it clear that we want businesses to focus on growing and expanding and not working to push any political agenda with left-wing ESG policies,” said Republican Sen. Dan Roberts, of Mountain Brook, the bill’s sponsor.
The bill was approved on a party-line vote, with Republicans voting for the bill and Democrats voting against it.
Democrats said the bill sends an anti-business message.
“If we are about free enterprise, let’s open up the doors,” Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said. “Alabama should have her doors open and say, ’Come, come to me,”