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Hi Friend,
Early voting is well underway. I hope you were able to make it out to vote this week or have plans made to vote early next week. We’ve continued to knock on doors to meet voters and greet voters at polling locations. I enjoy talking to voters and sharing how we will keep Texas the best state in the country to achieve the American Dream and support Texas families. People are tired of the bitterness and divisiveness and want to get back to a place where the government does what it’s supposed to, then gets out of the way. That’s the Texas I envision. 

We did take a brief break to cheer on Calob at his first Jiu-Jitsu tournament. He turned down a tournament during the summer because he didn’t feel he was ready, but volunteered on his own for the tournament this last weekend. He practiced hard leading up to the tournament and did so well during the tournament matches. He quickly scored points in the first round but got rolled over and his opponent scored more points. In the last 20 seconds, he dug really deep and pulled out what energy he had left to flip his opponent and score the final points he needed to win that match. In the second round, just 5 minutes later, he managed to pin his opponent and dominated the match for the entire 3 minutes. He was calm, focused, and determined through all his matches and performed his techniques very well. Fanny and I are super proud of him for placing first in his first tournament.
Alright, on to this week's topic. Some may have heard about ESGs and how they can have negative impacts on different industries. But what are they? ESG stands for “Environmental, Social, and Governance” issues or policies. Some companies, including banks, have begun to use ESGs to determine their investments and actions as a company. This means they could direct funds or investments towards groups their leadership agrees with, and away from groups they do not agree with. What does this look like practically? Well, if you are a small business owner trying to get a loan for a business in the oil and gas industry, your business might not qualify for investment because you are engaging in “dirty energy” that is considered by some to be bad for the environment. If you’re seeking investment in your company and you don’t have a social justice policy or what is deemed to be an appropriate work policy for certain minority groups, you may lose out on investments. Some banks and businesses have gone beyond providing a product or service for consumers to attempting to shape society to suit their beliefs. 

This is a concerning shift in our free market system. With technology and infrastructure allowing businesses to grow in size and wealth, they have realized their ability to influence and shape society. The invisible hands of capitalism, as Adam Smith described it, allow consumers to reward or punish a business behavior by choosing where they spend their money. Unfortunately, with the number of large companies using ESGs to shape their funding, there are few options left where concerned individuals can move their spending. 

What’s worse is banks and investment firms engaging in these activities by using other people’s money. We are seeing this as people’s money is being used to fund loans or investments when the individual may not know the stipulations being put on those funds. For instance, the “green rating system” used by some companies to determine investments and loans would block the oil and gas industry here in Texas from securing these funds, but these policies are not always advertised to existing or potential customers. Oil and gas are necessary for fueling our vehicles and cooling or heating our homes, and many customers would not support company policies that choke the oil and gas industry. These ESG policies cause the costs of fueling vehicles and cooling or heating homes to rise as funds for maintenance and growth become more scarce. 
Last year, the Texas legislature took action and passed Senate Bills 13 and 19. SB 13 banned state contracts with and investments in certain companies that boycott energy companies. SB 19 bans contracts with companies that discriminate against the firearm or ammunition industries. While businesses have weaponized their wealth and influence to try and shape society in their views, Texas Legislators and Governor Abbott said, “not in my state”. 
After the passage of both bills, Comptroller Hegar put together a process for which the Comptroller’s office would produce and maintain lists of companies boycotting energy, firearms, and ammunition industries. In August, they put together a list of 10 financial firms and nearly 350 investment funds that, after their exhaustive process, were banned from Texas taxpayer dollars. 

Here is a quote from Comptroller Hegar’s Press Release:

“The environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) movement has produced an opaque and perverse system in which some financial companies no longer make decisions in the best interest of their shareholders or their clients, but instead use their financial clout to push a social and political agenda shrouded in secrecy,” Hegar said. “Our review focused on the boycott of energy companies, rather than a review of the entire ESG movement. This research uncovered a systemic lack of transparency that should concern every American regardless of political persuasion, especially the use of doublespeak by some financial institutions as they engage in anti-oil and gas rhetoric publicly yet present a much different story behind closed doors. This list represents our initial effort to shine a light on entities that are engaging in these practices and create some clarity for Texans whose tax dollars may be working to directly undermine our state’s economic health.”
Texas funds being banned from these companies include the state’s retirement funds for teachers and employees, as well as local counties and municipalities who would issue bond debt. Currently, there are 17 states who have stepped up to push back on businesses attempting to shape our society behind closed doors. In a free market system, consumers steer the ship, not businesses. With all that’s going on in the world, we don’t need big businesses to come in and try to further dictate how individuals should live. The power must remain in the individual, through their individual votes for elected representatives and dollars given to certain businesses and industries. 

This next session, I believe we will see a strong push by the state as businesses continue to be emboldened to implement ESGs. I believe individuals should maintain the power to choose how they live and invest their resources and I will continue to fight for you and these essential rights in the next legislative session.  
 
Let us know your thoughts
Our goal is to communicate effectively, with authenticity and simplicity, so that Texans know what and why things are happening, and how to make a difference in their community. We want to empower you with the right information to make things better for yourself, your family, and your neighbors. Thank you for taking steps to be informed and share good information with others. 
Jacey Jetton
State Representative
Texas House District 26

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Each week, I will send you the "Weekly Briefing", where you will get the latest news on House District 26. These weekly briefings will ensure you know more than anybody else about what is happening in our district. When you are equipped and empowered, problems get solved and life gets better for everyone. Let's continue to make Texas a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
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District Office
1108 Soldiers Field Dr, Ste 100
Sugar Land, TX 77479
(281) 240-0342
Monday-Wednesday 7:30-2:30
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PO Box 2910, E2.716
Austin, TX 78768
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