DeSantis pushes back Against China, forced labor, and coastal wind turbines

by | May 15, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills into law addressing energy policy, state investments, and procurement practices, which include divesting from Chinese companies, prohibiting forced labor in supply chains, and banning wind turbines near Florida’s coastlines.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a trio of bills into law on Wednesday, addressing energy policy, state investments, and procurement practices, signaling a strong stance on environmental and economic issues.

House Bill 7071 directs the State Board of Administration (SBA) to divest from Chinese companies and bans future investments in such firms. The SBA, which manages the assets of the Florida Retirement System (FRS), is required to review its current holdings and formulate a divestment plan by September 1.

The initiative comes in response to $277 million in investments towards Chinese companies, which represents 0.16 percent of the FRS Trust Fund. The legislation sets a deadline of September 1, 2025, for the completion of the divestment, in accordance with fiduciary standards.

House Bill 1331 focuses on ethical procurement practices, mandating that the Department of Management Services (DMS) compile and regularly update a list of companies that utilize forced labor in their supply chains. Furthermore, state contracts will now include clauses that allow for termination should a company be found to use forced labor.

Firms bidding on state contracts must also certify that their products are free from forced labor, with violators facing substantial fines and a one-year disqualification from public contracting.

Meanwhile, House Bill 1645 prohibits the installation of wind turbines within 10 miles of Florida’s coastlines, with proponents of the bill contending that the measure functions to protect “scenic coastal vistas” and “safeguarding the tourism sector.”

Opponents, however, warn that the legislation may hinder Florida’s ability to develop renewable energy resources, potentially slowing progress towards sustainable energy goals.

“The bills I signed today—HB 1645, HB 7071, and HB 1331—will keep windmills off our beaches, gas in our tanks, and China out of our state,” said DeSantis. “We’re restoring sanity in our approach to energy and rejecting the agenda of the radical green zealots. Furthermore, we’re going to ensure foreign adversaries like China have no foothold in our state.”


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