California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has installed a ban on state-funded travel to Texas, Alabama, Kentucky and South Dakota due to measures those states have passed that limited the rights of LGBT people. Specifically, Texas, Alabama and South Dakota have passed bills this year allowing adoption and foster parent agencies to refuse service to LGBT couples, while Kentucky recently passed a bill allowing student organizations at state schools the right to refuse membership to those who identify as LGBT. This move by the Attorney General is in line with a previous measure passed by the California legislature last year, which banned state employee travel to four other states (Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee) that have passed measures permitting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. “We will not spend taxpayer dollars in states that discriminate… When California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it,” Becerra said.
In addition to government employees, the ban is also expected to apply to employees of the University of California and the rest of the state school system. There are some exceptions to the state-level travel ban, allowing employees to go to those states for the purposes of collecting tax revenue, engaging in litigation, obtaining grant funding, or for training programs. One example where that exception will probably be invoked is in the case of California’s Board of Equalization, a tax collection branch of government that has an office in Houston, Texas.
Becerra has been California’s Attorney General since current U.S. Senator Kamala Harris left the post in January of this year; Harris was in office when the first batch of travel bans were enacted. He is now working for a full term election, expecting to face up against California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in 2018.