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CA Bans State-Funded Travel To 5 More States Over Anti-LGBTQ Laws

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FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

This travel ban has nothing to do with Covid

The state of California is taking action on the bigotry and discrimination happening in parts of the country against the LBGTQ+ community. Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he was adding five more states to a growing list of places where state-funded travel is now banned.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said. Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia are the latest states on a list that now includes 17 places state employee travel is forbidden. The 12 other states on the list are: Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

These lawmakers “would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy,” Bonta said in a news conference. “There has been a coordinated attack on fundamental civil rights. It’s about aligning our dollars with our values.”

This is not a new movement by state lawmakers who have prohibited state employees from traveling to certain states that enacted laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people since 2016 The move to add five new states came on the heels of each introducing or passing discriminatory legislature. This includes bills that prevent transgender women and girls from participating in on sport’s teams consistent with their gender identity, bathroom bans in schools, and bills that would impact the ability to receive proper healthcare.

Evan Low, a California lawmaker who wrote the ban, said the move is an attempt to keep its state workers safe and out of harm’s way. “The current culture war is not a game,” he said.

Richard C. Auxier, a researcher at the Tax Policy Center, told The New York Times that while California on its own may not have a major financial impact to these states, if other states follow suit, it could snowball. “These cities are all dying for people to come back — to go to the bars, to go to events,” he said, indicating local tourism could be impacted over time. “‘Will it work?’ is a giant political question,” he said.

Bonta did not offer any information about how many state agencies halted state employee travel or any financial impacts incurred to date, but they are putting a line in the sand to say they won’t support states that discriminate against people for who they are for any reason.

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