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Sen. Runestad introduces bill to protect public pensions from politically motivated investing

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Runestad on Wednesday introduced legislation to protect Michigan public pensions from politically motivated investing strategies.

“Recently, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees made headlines when it removed a resolution from its agenda that would have called on companies doing business with the university to oppose the Secure MI Vote ballot initiative,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “While the MSU board was right to remove it, the fact that it was even considered is troubling. It is imperative that the Legislature act to protect public investments from the political whims of activist board members who are inclined to use their positions of power to push personal partisan agendas.”

Senate Bill 1192 would amend the Public Employee Retirement System Investment Act to require that only pecuniary factors, such as risk or return on investment, funding objectives and others be considered in the evaluation of investments — and that any noneconomic, nonfinancial, social, political, or ideological objectives not be considered.

“Public boards have a duty to protect the funds that are promised to their retirees and should not be gambling with public money by playing political roulette with their preferred personal ideologies,” Runestad said. “Sadly, progressive activism has taken hold of corporate boardrooms and public institutions across the country. It’s high time these institutions stop playing politics and start keeping their promises. My bill will protect public funds from bad board actors and their terrible politically motivated ideas.”

SB 1192 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance for further consideration.