California attorney general Xavier Becerra has banned all state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas, citing new state laws the Golden State has deemed “discriminatory.”
The Attorney General’s office said Texas’ House Bill 3859 enacted last week “allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system.”
According to the Texas Tribune, the ban means that California agencies, departments, public universities, commissions and boards won’t be able to pay for their employees or members to travel to Texas for work-related trips.
A new California law that went into effect Jan. 1 grants Becerra authority to issue the ban.
South Dakota and Alabama enacted laws similar to Texas’ adoption law in March and May, respectively, according to AL.com. Meanwhile, Kentucky approved a law in March that could potentially allow student-run organizations in colleges and K-12 schools to discriminate against students based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The controversial laws are said to be aimed at protecting religious beliefs but opponents consider them discriminatory against certain groups.
“While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back,” Becerra stated via the Tribune. “That’s why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it.”
The potential impact of California’s ban on the four states is uncertain because a California law allows exceptions on travel for contracts that are already in place. According to the Sacramento Bee, there are also exemptions for law enforcement, tax auditors and training events that are required for grants.
However, the Tribune points out that the ban may have a disproportionate effect on college sports since many California universities send their coaches and athletes to Texas and other states for road games and tournaments.
Nonetheless, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott doesn’t appear too concerned.
“California may be able to stop their state employees but they can’t stop all the businesses that are fleeing over taxation and regulation and relocating to Texas,” his spokesman John Wittman told the Tribune.
California now bans state-funded travel to eight states altogether, including Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.
-Originally from Travel Pulse News, June 23, 2017 by Patricke Clarke
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