The Maine Senate has given final approval to legislation that would require the Maine Public Employees Retirement system to divest its holdings in fossil fuel companies, and privately owned prisons. Lawmakers rejected arguments that the move would be unconstitutional.
One measure would require the retirement system to divest itself of interest in companies that own or manage fossil fuels, like oil and natural gas. The second measure would require the system to divest itself of any interest in companies that own or operate private prisons. Republican Sen. Rick Bennett of Oxford argued that the retirement system is constitutionally barred from taking direction on investments from the legislature.
The state constitution requires the retirement system to invest only on the basis of what provides the greatest return. Supporters of the bills argue it is good policy to get out of fossil fuel investments, and private prisons. They say the bills are crafted so they do not violate the constitution.