In a move that some are calling ironic, California has added four more states to its travel ban, doubling the number of states that employes are banned from traveling to. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Thursday, June 22, 2017, that added to the list are Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Texas. Already on the travel ban were Kansas, Mississsippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The reason for the ban is because the states have all passed laws that California interprets as discriminatory when it comes to LGBQT+ issues.
For example, with Alabama, South Dakota, and Texas, the three states recently passed laws that allow adoption and foster agencies the right to refuse to place children in same-sex households (Alabama’s HB 24, South Dakota’s SB 149, and Texas’ HB 3859). Kentucky recently passed SB 17, a bill that protects religious expression in schools, which LGBT activists say will make it easier for school groups to discriminate in how they select their membership.
To be clear, the travel ban put into place by the Democratic-controlled California state legislature does not prohibit civilian travel to these states. It merely prohibits state money from being used to fund travel to those states so that, according to Evan Low, a Democratic Assemblyman, California “taxpayer dollars do not fund bigotry or hatred.”
In response, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement that played off of the economic rivalry between Texas and California, saying, “California may be able to stop their state employees, but they can’t stop all the businesses tat are fleeing over taxation and regulation and relocating to Texas.”
The travel ban has already brought up questions over how it will be implemented state-wide, especially in areas where the application isn’t so clear. For example, how will the ban affect state school sports teams as they have to travel to away games. Cal State and UC schools have announced that they aren’t going to cancel the games that have already been scheduled in these states. It has been speculated that the state teams will use private funds to travel to their games, but nothing has been announced. For instance, the Bruins are scheduled to play a game in Tennessee, and the Spartans are headed to Austin to face the University of Texas.
The California AG’s office says that it intends to release general guidance to all state agencies and departments on how the new law will affect them.
Response to the ban has been vocal on social media. The responses range from sports fans wondering if this will take California state universities out of the running should they hit the Final Four in a match with a Texas team, to marking the hypocrisy of California protesting the travel ban from the Trump Administration and instituting their own.
For now, experts agree that the travel ban will be difficult to enforce, with even more complications than a national ban, and could also open California up to economic repercussions. There are provisions in the ban that make exceptions for law enforcement travel as well as existing contracts and mandatory job training. Already, UC researchers have felt the impact of the ban, being forced to use non-state funds to travel to conferences held in states on the ban list.
[Featured Image by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images]