Marion Bae, FISM News
Legislators in Oklahoma are looking to take action against companies with discriminatory policies toward fossil fuels and firearm manufacturers by limiting their ability to do business with the state.
Two bills currently circulating the Oklahoma legislature will be big wins for advocates of the Second Amendment and the fossil fuel industry if approved.
House Bill 3144 was co-authored by Republican Reps. Kevin West and Sen. Casey Murdock and is intended to punish banks that discriminate against firearms manufacturers. The bill would prohibit the state of Oklahoma from signing contracts over six figures with financial institutions that have discriminatory qualifications when lending to gun manufacturers. This bill will also require that state contracts include a written clause verifying that lenders have no such policies in place and that they cannot create new policies while under contract.
As part of his reasoning for co-authoring the bill, Murdock said, “Today, the firearm industry is being attacked and discriminated against simply because of manufacturing firearms.”
“These basically New York City woke banks have policies that state if a gun manufacturer manufactures high-capacity magazines they will not loan them money if a business sells long rifles to anyone under 21 they will not loan them money. This bill simply states that if you have these policies the state of Oklahoma will not do business with your company,” he added.
Some of the institutions that have these extra qualifications and will be impacted by this bill are JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Citigroup.
Some Democrats in the Senate opposed the bill, voicing concerns that this compromises the free market and shrinks the pool of possible lenders in the state. They claim that smaller lenders left cannot be as competitive in their pricing, creating the likelihood of the state spending more money per contract.
Murdock conceded this point, using Louisiana as an example, demonstrating that using a smaller local bank cost them $64,000 more on a $42.5 million contract, but insisted it was a matter of freedom. Republican Sen. Rob Strandridge added that while the cost was higher, using local banks would help build the local economy.
This bill passed the House 72 to 17 at the end of March and recently passed the Senate 37 to 8. It was sent back to the House on Tuesday where a Conference Committee on Public Safety was named.
In another move to push back against overregulation, Senate Republican Mark Allen authored House Bill 2034, titled the “Energy Discrimination Elimination Act,” which proposes that the state keep a comprehensive list of companies that are boycotting the fossil fuel industry. The bill also will require that any companies under contract with the state give notice that they do not have such policies in place. If a company contracting with the state does have policies boycotting fossil fuel companies, they will have an opportunity to reverse these policies before the state voids the contract.
Regarding his bill, Allen said, “This legislation would ensure the state of Oklahoma is free from discrimination against the fossil-fuel industry and does not support corporations that put political ideology ahead of the interests of taxpayers, shareholders, and residents.”
This bill passed the House 78 to 31 in March, and recently passed the Senate 38 to 3. It was sent back to the House and no further action has been taken to date.