BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) (LOCAL 33) – The Louisiana State Bond Commission voted Thursday to block two banking giants from taking part in a $600 million road financing plan because of gun policies the banking groups have in place.
In a 7-6 vote, the State Bond Commission blocked Citigroup and Bank of America from working as underwriters of a transportation deal.
In March, Citigroup announced the company’s new U.S. commercial firearm policy in response to the deadly shooting at a Florida high school. The bank announced it would end relationships with retailers and clients who sell firearms to people who haven’t passed a background check, sell to people under 21 years of age and sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.
Bank of America announced earlier this year that it intended to no longer provide financing to clients that manufacture military style weapons for non-military or non-law enforcement use.
Representatives from both banks defended the policies during Thursday’s meeting, saying they do not believe the policies infringe Second Amendment rights.
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, applauded the State Bond Commission for the decision.
“Citibank and Bank of America are trying to impose their political agenda on the American people. In the process, they’re trampling on people’s Second Amendment rights. That is a slap in the face to every single taxpayer who bailed those banks out during the Great Recession,” Kennedy said. “The State Bond Commission made the right decision. If you have zero respect for the U.S. Constitution, then you don’t need to do business with the state of Louisiana.”
Opponents of the decision said the move would be a disservice to Louisiana taxpayers.
“To pick and choose who can do business with us based on the social policy or any other policy, we would probably be doing a huge disservice to the state or the taxpayers. I think we would be going way beyond, not just the spirit of the law, but what the law says our objective or our goal is,” Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, said.
The $600 million borrowing plan under discussion at Thursday’s meeting will pay for the I-10 widening project.