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Government Meddling in Business
Mandated requirements for board directors

HB 3110 has passed in the Oregon House of Representatives on party lines and moves to the Senate for consideration. This bill requires board of directors of publicly traded corporation to have at least one female director and one director who is a member of an underrepresented community.

Board composition is ultimately up to a corporation's shareholders votes. Representative John Lively points out, “there is a great deal of evidence showing that these decisions are not always made fairly or with the financial health of the corporation in mind. There is quite a bit of data showing a certain percentage of a Board of Directors being composed of women results in greater profitability, for example, yet a surprisingly high number of Boards still do not include any women.” So, according to Representative Lively, it’s big government’s responsibility to force a more profitable scenario for a corporation.

Lively also says, “HB 3110 preserves the shareholders' choice in Board selection but levees a fine if they decide not to be inclusive in a few specific ways.” If no females run for a board, or shareholders don’t vote for at least one female, it’s a civil penalty of at least $10,000 for publicly traded corporations. Isn’t this voter manipulation, also called voter fraud?

Not to make this bill more confusing, but the bill defines “Female” as meaning an individual who self-identifies as a woman, regardless of the sex assigned to the individual at birth. It seems a man can self-identify as a female or qualify as underrepresented.

Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) submitted a Vote Explanation:

“Forcing a corporation to have specified proportions of female directors and members of BIPOC communities is not something this legislative body should be doing and as many women and BIPOC leaders have said, this action would diminish the hard work of those that currently hold these positions. A perfect example of this are within this very House of Representatives, where the majority of members are women.”

The bill degrades females and underrepresented. Women work hard to earn their place and this is offensive and belittling to a woman that would be appointed to a board for any other reason than her ability. The same applies to underrepresented, which is an individual who identifies as having a low income or very low income background, including almost anyone except a straight white person from a moderate to wealthy background, and they should feel the same about their ability to qualify.

It goes against business concept that shareholders electing board members. Shareholders have many interests, but first and foremost it is the financial health of the business. Companies and board members have a fiduciary duty to shareholders to maximize their return on investment. That means that directors are voted on based on whether they will further the goal of benefiting shareholders, not the community at-large. Trying to tie a false sense of equity is government capturing the free market into captivity.

--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-05-19 09:00:39Last Update: 2021-05-19 09:50:29

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