Members of the Alabama Legislature will once again consider passing legislation that prohibits weighing environmental, social and governance standards when awarding a public contract.
The bill, filed by Rep. Chris Brown, R-Hollinger’s Island, is quite different from the bill that passed in the House without debate last session.
The new legislation focuses largely on an individual’s personal ESG rating and prohibits companies being awarded a public contract from using an ESG rating as a basis in the hiring, firing or evaluation of employees.
The legislation means companies contracting with the state will not be allowed to evaluate employees on things like their personal dietary choices, carbon footprint, contributions to social justice issues and more.
Last year’s anti-ESG bill by Sen. Dan Roberts, R-Mountain Brook, has already been signed into law. That legislation was more far-ranging in setting out particular sectors that cannot be “economically boycotted” by other companies who hope to contract with the state.
The sectors include fossil fuels, timber, mining, agriculture and firearms and ammunition manufacturers.
It also precludes companies from boycotting companies who are not committed to meet environmental standards, particularly regulations to offset, reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Or companies that don’t meet certain composition, compensation, or disclosure criteria. Or companies that don’t facilitate access to abortion, sex or gender change surgery, medications, treatment or therapy.
Brown filed this bill last session as well, but it did not find the support to move through the Legislature.
The bill is part of a nationwide spate of bills challenging ESG criteria, which Alabama Republicans have previously referred to as a “woke report card.”
Some of the state’s largest business entities and lobbyists including Regions, RSA and the Business Council of Alabama factor in similar criteria when choosing who to do business with.