The move for state governments to divest their pension funds of Big Tech stocks gathered momentum on Wednesday when Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles called on the Tennessee General Assembly to consider legislation along the lines proposed by a state legislator in Florida on Tuesday.
“I write today to ask that you order the immediate divestment of any Florida-held equity and debt of the following companies: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Alphabet (Google),” State Rep. Randy Fine (R-Melbourne Beach) said in a letter sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican on Tuesday.
The state of Florida has $200 billion under management by the Florida State Board of Administration.
On Wednesday, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, who specifically referenced Fine’s letter to DeSantis as a model, sent a letter to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Speaker Cam Sexton, and all members of the Tennessee General Assembly, requesting “that the Governor and/or General Assembly take the immediate steps necessary to divest Any and All Tennessee-held equity and debt of the following companies: Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet aka Google.”
“The Tennessee Treasury Department internally manages investments in domestic equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate and strategic lending valued at approximately $50 billion throughout the year,” the state government’s website reports.
“Like most Americans I was appalled by the violence that took place at OUR Nation’s Capitol. The actions of a few DO NOT represent the majority, they do not represent me, nor do they represent you; they do not represent Tennessee values,” Ogles said in his letter to Tennessee elected officials.
“That being said, the major technology companies are systematically silencing and censoring millions of law abiding, patriotic Americans including millions of God fearing Tennesseans,” Ogles added.
Sources in the Tennessee General Assembly told Breitbart News that Ogles’ request reflected discussions currently going on among state lawmakers, but it was unclear if specific legislation would be addressed in the 2021 session of the state legislature, which convened earlier this week.
As Breitbart News reported, Florida Gov. DeSantis has not yet responded to Fine’s divestment proposal:
“No matter what one thinks about President Trump, he remains the duly-elected president of the United States until noon on January 20th,” Fine wrote. “If the president of the United States can be silenced by these companies, then so can anyone.”
“These companies allow actual terrorists around the world to use their platforms to target America, Americans, and our allies, without as much as a peep,” the legislators added.
It is unclear if DeSantis will choose to follow through on Fine’s proposal to divest from Big Tech. The governor, who was first elected to office in 2018, has been a strong proponent of conservative causes throughout his tenure.
It is unclear whether calls for divestment of Big Tech stocks will be made in other state legislatures.
Over the past several decades, calls for state government pension funds to divest their portfolios of equity and debt of controversial companies has been an increasingly effective political tactic.