Category Archives: California

Protect our Pensions Calls on California Assembly to Reject AB 20

Protect our Pensions sent a letter to all 80 members of the California Assembly this morning, urging lawmakers to reject Assembly Bill 20, legislation that pressures the California state pension funds to divest of their energy holdings.   Please see the following letter to the state Assembly Members:

Dear State Assembly Member,

On behalf of our members in the State of California, we urge you to oppose Assembly Bill 20, which would require filing annual disclosures of the carbon footprint of

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California Pensioners Urge Lawmakers to Reject Harmful Divestment Measure

Today, thirteen members of Protect our Pensions from California submitted a letter to the lawmakers of the California Assembly Committee on Appropriations, urging them not to resuscitate Assembly Bill 20, which was intended to divest public employee retirement systems from their investments with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Assembly lawmakers have since put the bill on hold after some amendments, but its passage is still possible.

The letter highlighted the widespread opposition to the bill:

Since its introduction, this bill

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California Pension Boards Remain Firmly Committed to Engagement

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) were recognized by the Financial Times for their commitment to corporate engagement in a recent article concerning divestment.

CalPERS recently voted to reject divestment as a preferred tool for social change, arguing that “divesting appears to almost invariably harm investment performance.” Instead the new CalPERS policy “prohibits Divesting in response to Divestment Initiatives, but permits CalPERS to use constructive engagement.”

The divestment campaign to disengage … Read More

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Orange County Register column: California Should Stop “Playing Politics with Pension Funds”

With several divestment bills before the California Legislature, increasingly urgent calls to leave pension funds alone have been reported in the state media. Just recently, Carlos Solorzano, the CEO of The Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco pushed back against divestment bill AB 20, making the case that the legislation will be harmful to businesses in San Francisco and across the state. The editorial board of The Press Democrat, of Santa Rosa, also strongly objected to pensions … Read More

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California Political Leader: Water Infrastructure Should be Top Environmental Concern, Not Divestment

In an op-ed published in the California Political Review, Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker  raised awareness of the fact that in the debate over divestment, other  far more urgent and consequential environmental issues have not received as much scrutiny, even though they should.

Highlighting the fact that there is no consensus around the idea that divestment would actually address environmental challenges, Whitaker cited both CalPERS and Stanford University’s opposition to divestment. CalPERS’ officials called divestment “an ineffective strategy for achieving … Read More

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Santa Rosa Press Democrat Editorial: CA Legislature Should Reject Divestment Bills

The editorial board of The Press Democrat, of Santa Rosa, California, came out against a trio of divestment bills currently under review by the California State Legislature. The board strongly objected to pensions being used as “a tool for making political statements,” a fact that has been “lost on (…) some state lawmakers.”

At the heart of the editorial board’s argument was the idea that shortfalls in earnings will have to be borne by California’s taxpayers:

The pension funds

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CalPERS Unanimously Votes Against Divestment, Opts for Constructive Engagement

Just as anticipated, the investment committee of the largest public pensions system in the United States formally voted to reject the policy of divestment, opting in favor of using constructive engagement with the companies that the $310 billion fund is invested in.

The new policy boldly dismisses the tactic of divestment, which has been proven to be both ineffective against the targeted companies and damaging to the long-term health of portfolios attempting such a practice. The new policy adopted by … Read More

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CalPERS Set to Vote Against Politically-Motivated Divestment Efforts, Reaffirm Sensible Investing

According to publicly available sources, the nation’s largest state employee pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), is ready to reaffirm its commitment to responsible investing, and approve a “fundwide policy” to oppose divestment, according to E&E News.

CalPERS has worked hard to uphold its reputation as a responsible investor, and the new policy will uphold and name corporate engagement as the “preferred approach”.  As CalPERS Chief Operating Investment Officer Wylie Tollette stated last week when speaking … Read More

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