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California Bans Official Travel to States with Anti-LGBT Laws

Sandi Cain
, Senior News Editor
January 20, 2017
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Sacramento, Calf. -- On January 1, California put into place a ban on state-sanctioned travel to U.S. states that have enacted anti-LGBT laws at any time since June 29, 2015. The ban followed passage of AB1887 last September after the state legislature determined that “California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people.”

Sponsored by Equality California and the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, and co-sponsored by Silicon Valley Assemblyman Evan Low, the bill alleged that the state shouldn’t fund other states that discriminate. AB1887 applies to state employees who work for agencies, departments, boards or commissions and prevents them from traveling to states with anti-LGBT laws. 

In proposing AB1887, Low said that California would not use taxpayer dollars to help fund bigotry and hatred. “Our zero tolerance policy says there is no room for discrimination of any kind in California and AB1887 ensures that discrimination will not be tolerated beyond our borders,” he said. The bill was signed into law last September. 

Currently, the restrictions apply to travel to North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, all of which have laws that create discrimination or provide exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. The legislature warned that any state that passes laws that repeal LGBT protections, attack the rights of same-sex couples or LGBT families or exempts such families from anti-discriminatory laws will be added to the list of states subject to the travel ban.

California event organizers need to read the fine print carefully. Those looking to book government-sponsored events will find AB1887 extends to state agencies, the Legislature and public universities, but exempts trips to meet contractual obligations that were made before January, 2016. And it could impact travel by state employees to conferences as well as travel to non-compliant states by the University of California’s football teams. 

On January 12 this year, Low was elected to the Legislature’s Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and Transgender Caucus.

Reach Evan Low at (408) 446-2810 or (916) 319-2028

 

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