California has banned most taxpayer-funded travel to four states that have adopted anti-LGBT protective rights laws.
In addition to the states that the State of California’s Office of Attorney General identified in November for inclusion on the list – Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee – Kansas was also named to the official list posted online January 1.
It is the result of Assembly Bill 1887, which was authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), going into effect January 1. The AG’s office did not explain its reasons for including the quartet of states on the travel ban list on the main page of the website, instead, it included links to the anti-LGBT laws each state has passed at the end of a separate page titled Frequently Asked Questions about the new law.
Low’s legislation was in response to North Carolina lawmakers adopting in early 2016 House Bill 2, which restricts cities in the state from enacting local non-discrimination laws and requires transgender people to use public restrooms based on the gender they were assigned at birth. Newly sworn in Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has vowed to repeal the law, though an effort to rescind it just prior to Christmas failed.
Mississippi allows for its residents and businesses to discriminate based on their religious beliefs, while Tennessee adopted a law last year allowing therapists and other mental health professionals to deny seeing LGBT patients and others for religious reasons. Kansas last year adopted a law allowing campus-based religious groups to discriminate against LGBT students.
Officials from the City of San Francisco are also expected to ban non-essential travel to the four states–and possibly others–when its local travel ban goes into effect February 14, 2017. The city’s ordinance also bans departments and agencies from entering into new contracts with businesses headquartered in the banned states.
Officials in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties were the first in California to enact travel bans to states with anti-LGBT laws. And the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville have both imposed their own travel bans.
More states will likely join the travel ban lists later in 2017 should their legislatures and governors enact anti-LGBT laws of their own. Already lawmakers in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia have signaled they intend to push anti-LGBT protective rights bills in the new year.