(KXNET) — Investing money in North Dakota can help build communities, wealth, and our own future.

One bill presented on Thursday plans to steer our funds in that direction.

“The people of North Dakota trust us to monitor what’s going on,” said District 12 Representative, Bernie Satrom.

Our state’s Legacy Fund was created partly due to the recognition that state revenue from the oil and gas industry will be derived over a restricted time frame. 

The idea is that these funds will take over when our oil funds are not there anymore.

Bill 1278 addresses its whereabouts directly.

House Bill 1278 would push back against ESG investing in our state and require bidding on our investment managers every five years.

The bill would also require a rebid on Chief Financial Manager Callan, which would shake up some change. 

“The reason for that is we’ve had basically the same manager for about somewhere around 1990. I think it’s good to have fresh blood and fresh ideas and accountability. I think if North Dakotans realize how much money is being spent. For example, we had Russian bonds that we were invested in. We had Chinese investments and companies like Alibaba, which does intellectual property theft, there’s things that are not necessary. We should not be aiding and bidding our enemies, this is just not helpful,” said Representative Satrom. 

Those opposed gathered, arguing that the language is vague in some sections, the conditions in the bill would be difficult to do, and some are concerned about the intent of the bill. 

“This would actually require us to renegotiate or re-look at, or rebid all of our, not just a general consulting contract, but all of the investment management contracts. So if that wasn’t the intent, then we would have to find a different way to speak to it than the way it is written. If it was the intent that would make it very difficult especially in private markets for us because those commitments are well over five years long, they are five to 10 years long, the capital is locked up,” said Retirement & Investment Office Executive Director, Jan Murtha. 

Neutral testimony from State Treasurer, Thomas Beadle, was lengthy, though, in summary, he seems to worry that rebidding every five years could be problematic.

He along with Securities Commissioner, Karen Tyler, says long deals and relationships when making investments are important, and this would go against those bonds.

Beadle agrees with Representative Satrom that getting local trust, institutions, and fund managers involved would be beneficial to the board as to where our funds will be allocated.

But, the million-dollar question is, are our dollars being invested in dark companies?

“I don’t know what you mean by dark companies,” said Murtha.

“Dark companies would be what Representative Satrom is talking about pornography or involved in stealing into intellectual property companies that are less than legitimate,” answered Chairman Austen Schauer. 

“I don’t believe that we’re invested in any less than legitimate companies,” replied Murtha. 

What we spend and how much we spend reflects on us as a state.

The Net Zero Alliance is an alliance that is rumored to destroy the energy and modern agriculture industry, which are the biggest industries in our state. 

Representative Satrom says we have billion-dollar investments with companies who have pledged to this alliance.

“I’m hoping it’s going to pass the floor. There also needs to be, in addition, a study. The ESG. movement is very dangerous to our economy and I believe to the whole country and I think we need to be aware of that and we need to know as a state, how we can best react to the different aspects of it,” said Representative Satrom. 

Ultimately,  House Bill 1278 hopes to eliminate the investments that do not align with our prudent investment rule.

House Bill 1278 was introduced to the House in January, by 10 state Representatives and Senators.

The bill was heard Thursday morning by the Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.