Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Report: WV Taxpayers Burdened by Anti-Sustainable Investing Laws

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Tuesday, January 31, 2023   

West Virginia lawmakers are clamping down on corporations trying boost environmentally and socially responsible investing. A new report by EcoConsult Solutions finds their actions will likely cost taxpayers at least $9-million, and perhaps as much as $29-million dollars annually. Senate Bill 262, passed last year, restricts the state from investing in companies deemed to be energy boycotters. Among those boycotted include BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

Jim Kotcon, chair of the West Virginia Sierra Club, said restricting long-term financial investments in the form of bonds could end up costing residents and taxpayers by reducing the amount of money the state has for public services and programs.

"This appears to be an effort by the state government to help bail out the coal industry and to deny the real cost of climate change on West Virginia citizens," Kotcon said.

More than two dozen states are suing the federal government over a U.S. Department of Labor rule change on environmental, social and governance, or ESG, in workplace retirement accounts. The rule allows 401(k) providers to consider climate change and other issues when making investments.

Kotcon said environmental groups believe state investment funds should take into consideration environmental and social factors, especially since West Virginia communities are struggling to cope with increased flooding and extreme weather events driven by climate change.

"It has become sort of an extremist initiative," he said, "trying to penalize financial institutions that are attempting to do the right thing."

More than a dozen states so far have passed or have pending bills that would pull state funds from investments deemed to be adverse to the oil and gas industry, according to the report.


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