Kentucky Senate panel OKs bill aimed at energy boycotts

Published 5:32 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

A Kentucky Senate panel has advanced a proposal that would keep state government from doing business with financial companies that have decided to cut their investments in fossil fuels.

It would also require the Kentucky state treasurer to publish, maintain and update a list of financial companies engaged in energy company boycotts. That list would then be shared with state government entities making investments of more than $1 million annually. If a financial company does not end the boycott, the bill would require that the state government entity divest from those holdings.

“Energy policies, in my opinion, should be created by the legislators in Kentucky, not in the board rooms of publicly traded banks and investment firms around the nation and country,” Republican Sen. Robby Mills said.

Mills clarified that the bill allows for an exception if “reasonable evidence shows that divesting from the specific financial company would cause state government entities to suffer a loss.”

In testimony against the bill, Kentucky Banking Association President Ballard Cassady warned that the legislation would “be a treatment that is more deadly than the disease” if enacted.

“While some banks are choosing to limit their relationships with fossil fuel companies, there’s no evidence these fossil fuel companies are not finding other financial institutions who will welcome them in,” he added.