Lawmakers in California are taking a stand against other states it considers to be unfair, discriminatory and biased against LGBTQ citizens. California has compiled a list of U.S. states it is reluctant to do business with and has even compiled a list of places it refuses to pay state employees to travel to — a list that continues to grow.
On Monday, June 28, California state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia were added to California’s list of banned places for state workers to travel to. These five states join Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas — bringing the list of banned states up to 17.
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc and Stella Chan have reported that Bonta’s ban is based around one very simple but important rule: “aligning our dollars with our values.” To do that, he says, California intends to single out the states he believes are enacting “dangerous” new laws that “directly work to ban transgender youth from playing sports, block access to life-saving care, or otherwise limit the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
“It’s unfortunate that some politicians 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 at a news conference discussing the new travel ban.
According to LeBlanc and Chan, the travel bans originated in California Assembly Bill 1887, which “prohibits the state from requiring employees to travel to a state subject to AB 1887’s travel prohibition,” as well as “prohibits California from approving a request for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to such a state.”
In his speech, Bonta told reporters that the five latest-banned states are joining the list because they “are working to prevent transgender women and girls from participating in school sports, consistent with their gender identity.”
“It’s all part of a movement to limit the rights of LGBTQ Americans as a movement,” he said.
The California ban does not apply to state employee’s personal travel. Other exceptions to the bill include state-funded travel related to grant funding, licensure and auditing or revenue collection purposes.
In a statement, Bonta’s office also told CNN that “it’s ultimately up to each California agency, including universities, to make determinations about the steps they’ll need to take to comply with AB 1887.”
While banned states like Oklahoma have pushed back on the policy in the past, enacting their own executive orders preventing all “nonessential state travel” to California, the bill has mostly been celebrated by Democrats and progressives, including members of the Human Rights Campaign.
“California’s announcement today shows that states passing anti-transgender laws will face real-world consequences for their cruel actions,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “The legislatures that have enacted these laws are choosing to trade away economic opportunities in order to target transgender young people based with no pretext.”
LeBlanc and Chan reported that 2021 is already a “record-breaking year” for anti-LGBTQ legislation, “with at least 23 states having introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country.”
“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country,” Bonta told those who gathered for his announcement on Monday. “And the state of California is not going to support it.”