California bans state-funded employee travel to FL, 4 more states due to anti-LGBTQ laws

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Yesterday we discussed the Supreme Court victory for Gavin Grimm and transgender high school students. Supreme Court precedent is one of the ways to get federal legislation, so these victories are very important. That decision also stands as a beacon of hope in a devastating year of anti-trans laws being passed within the US, especially directed at LGBTQ youth. On the West Coast, California made its own statement in further support of the LGBTQ community. Monday, CA Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia would be added to the list of places banned for state-funded travel due to their discriminatory LGBTQ laws. NPR has more on Bonta’s statement.

California added five more states, including Florida, to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, the state attorney general announced Monday.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except under limited circumstances.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said.

Lawmakers in 2016 banned non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The 12 other states on the list are: Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee.

[From NPR]

CA has already banned non-essential travel to, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas for discriminatory laws. NPR breaks down the recently added state’s offenses: FL, MT, AR and WV passed laws that prevent transgender athletes from participating in women’s school sports consistent with their gender identity. ND signed a bill that lets publicly funded student groups restrict LGBTQ students from joining and AR signed that horrible law that prohibits doctors from performing gender-affirming healthcare to minors.

The article said that exemptions must be made for travel needed to “enforce California law” and to “honor contracts signed before the states were added to the list.” It also points out that no one really knows if this ban will have any impact on the banned states at all so for the most part, this is a symbolic gesture. I think it’s an important statement for a state to make, especially at a time when a community is being attacked on such a large scale. It shows they have strong allies still, and not just when it’s profitable during Pride month. The reason Bonta gave for the ban is that the lawmakers in those states, “would rather demonize trans youth than focus on solving real issues like tackling gun violence beating back this pandemic and rebuilding our economy,” which is a good statement. I hope we are prepared to make equally bold comments for other injustices when the time comes. And, perhaps, turn the mirror on ourselves when we need to solve other real issues.

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37 Responses to “California bans state-funded employee travel to FL, 4 more states due to anti-LGBTQ laws”

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  1. Darla says:

    I would be so ashamed if my state was on this list. I don’t know what is wrong with people, I really don’t.

  2. Skyblue says:

    My state is on the list and it is shameful.

  3. Skyblue says:

    My state is on the list and it is shameful.

  4. Asking for a friend says:

    I think this is mostly symbolic, and it’s unlikely to have a fiscal impact on those states – out of state travel was/is difficult to have approved for most state employees. But it’s definitely a statement worth making.

    • EnormousCoat says:

      It is. NYS did this when NC first passed its bathroom bill. This legislation is hateful and does nothing it restrict people’s access to healthcare and equal opportunity. Of course that’s the point. To degrade, to demean, to be cruel. And progressive states should take stands, even symbolic ones, against these state efforts. And really, they are running their own economies. These are not states where people will want to live because the quality of life is so poor. The NC and TX legislatures will likely flip blue in the near term because of all the transplants but then they will need to undue all this mess. The Dems really need to focus on retaking the states and running good candidates who can flip districts. Republicans don’t want to govern; they want to fight culture wars and regress to a time when only white men had rights.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ EnormousCoatm well said!! I wish that the entertainment industry would also take the laws in all states into account, since the Repugnant’s legislature is establishing updated Jim Crow era voting laws, transgender/homophobic legislature and other horrific legislature that they are bringing to the table. Once these states start suffering financially from their appalling legislature, they will take notice immediately. The Repugnant’s refuse to evolve into the 21st century and miss the old days in time where they were the kings of power and oppression.

        I am happy to see that California is taking a moral step to call out these racists, transphobic, and homophobic laws/legislature, including Texas where I am from, to strip them of the billions of dollars in revenue that they reap from the industry.

  5. Astrid says:

    I’m surprised that California employees were allowed to travel out of state to begin with. Most states rein in spending by not letting state employees go out of state.

    • Bettyrose says:

      I don’t even know if I should be saying this but I used to work for California’s largest publicly funded university system. The staff salaries were famously low but the perks of travel to out of state & international conferences flowed like water. Some employees went to as many as 4-5 conferences a year.

    • Amanda says:

      @Astrid California is the size of a medium size country, with 40 million people (for comparison, countries like Canada , Australia, most European countries, a lot of central and South American countries have significantly smaller populations. The second most populated state is Texas, with 29 million people for another comparison).

      It has the largest economy in the U.S. and generally has the 5th to 8th largest economy in the world. Our port of Los Angeles is the largest container port in the country and one of the busiest in the world. So we run things here like a country does versus most states, which are significantly smaller in population and economy. That includes trade agreements with other world economies, our massive, internationally competitive universities, etc.

      So there are a legit reasons why state officials travel out of state. I have various relatives who work for the state and they travel to conferences and whatnot. This will definitely affect the income of banned states on that list.

      • bettyrose says:

        Amanda – All good points. I’ve never worked for a government agency, but I was one of the university staff who attended multiple student services conferences per year, and each trip ran about $2,000, of which 75% was hotel & per diem food expenses (i.e. all went to the local economy). Personally, I would have rather had a $10K a year raise, but the rule at my campus was that if you had a paper accepted to a conference the school would fund you to go. I never picked conferences in California because why bother? I always went to places like New Orleans or New York (which are still on the table). And these were just job perks, not critical to state operations like the positions you’re describing.

  6. SKE says:

    Apparently the biggest side effect is that organizations won’t have conferences in these states because California won’t pay for their employees to go. That’s millions of dollars in hospitality lost right there.

    • readingissexy says:


      I am a professor, and we are encouraged to go to 3-4 day conferences every year for our research. These conferences take place nationally. This means my state university will not fund any travel for conferences in these states. (And I would not pay the 500 to 1,000 bucks to go to one of these banned states for a conference when I can go to a conference in a state that would be funded by my university.)

      • Bettyrose says:

        $500 is a low ball when you’ve factored in airfare, hotel, and per diem. Even $1000 doesn’t really cover it. Of course travel to cities like Chicago and NYC is still allowed but it’s normal to spend $1200-1500 on hotel alone in those places (not to speak of international locations). Point being CA’s spending power is no joke.

      • SKE says:

        My husband and I are also professors and we sure miss conferences in Nashville, Charleston and Austin. Sadly if things change, it will be because Marriot and Sheraton start taking a hit, not because anyone located a shred of human decency.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      My husband is a ophthalmologist/retina specialist, and they hold a conference for ophthalmologist every year. This specialty brings people worldwide to their conferences, which excludes a majority of the biggest cities. They rotate between Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco and Orlando every year. There are tens of thousands that attend every year, coming from across the globe. We would spend a week in each city every year due to the need of continuing education and they have exceptional courses for those in regards to management to private practices.

      I wish other establishments would follow California’s strict no-travel bans on the same states. Imagine the damage to these states if everyone came together and stood by the example that California is setting!

  7. livealot says:

    I don’t agree with trans women participating in their gender identity sports unless they undergo tests (such as testosterone levels ) that confirm the playing field is fair. I’m pro LGBTQ+.

    • souperkay says:

      So you have some work to do here, unwinding why you want trans women tested to participate in sports. This is othering trans women with no basis in science.

      • Lizzie Bathory says:

        Succintly put, @souperkay.

      • livealot says:

        Thank you @souperkay I suppose it is the same reason why there is separation of cis male and female sports to begin with. And I thought it was based on science otherwise trans would not need to take hormones etc to transition.

    • Erika says:

      This is transphobic. Full stop. You are not pro-LGBTQ+ .

      • livealot says:

        @erika if i say trans women cannot give birth or trans men can not have menstrual cycles is that “transphobic” ? If I state a bio/scientific fact that is not an attack on them – full stop. I believed the separation of gender in sports was due to our bio differences (male being “stronger” than women etc)….otherwise why are sports segregated in the first place ? That’s an honest question.

      • Yup, Me says:

        There is research available that explains why you should revisit your thinking on this. I don’t have time to look it up to share but if you’re serious about reexamining your assumptions and beliefs, information is available to you.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Thank you Ericka and Yup, Me!! Brava!!

      • Erika says:

        @livealot “scientific facts” is the go-to defense of TERFs, so you’re really not improving your case. Also, plenty of cis-women can’t give birth or don’t have menstrual cycles so that logic is also incredibly hurtful and harmful.

        As @Yup, ME points out, there is a lot of information available to you on the internet and I encourage you to do your own research instead of asking others.

    • Sunflower says:

      Unfortunately, it comes down to money. Sports equal college scholarships for lots of females. My teenage girls are athletes and they say transgender athletes will kick butts even if they test their current hormones. On the flip side, will the transgender boys ever get a athletic scholarship?

      • wat says:

        Why do transmisogynists love using trans men as shields?

        “I don’t hate trans people! I love trans men! But trans women can go f-ck themselves tho!”

        lmao you’re so transparent.

    • CommonSense says:

      I completely agree with you @livealot. This will destroy the dreams of many AFAB athletes. I am also pro-LGBTQ+ and I want trans people to have full rights and protection under the law. But allowing those who were born with XY chromosomes to compete in sports against those with XX chromosomes is simply not fair.

    • wat says:

      You’re not “pro-LGBT” if you don’t support trans women. Full stop. Don’t pretend you give a f-ck. Trans women struggles are our collective struggles. Your outdated view of science to support transmisogyny doesn’t impress me, but I’m not surprised.

      There are two things to consider here:

      1) Hormone replacement therapy actually changes trans women’s bodies! Shocking! And it makes their bodies very similar (if not identical, in some cases) to a cis woman’s, minus having a uterus which not every cis woman has fyi.

      2) Even if trans women are naturally stronger and more resilient than cis women. Who cares? Shouldn’t women celebrate ALL females athletes equally? If a female athlete is strong enough or fast enough or whatever enough to beat men and to push the boundaries even further, shouldn’t we celebrate that? Of course we should.

      • CareBear says:

        I mean… as the resident raging feminist, I sometimes catch myself going “but what about girls/women’s and the already diminished access they have” in my head.
        But then I remember: trans women are women. Trans girls are girls. They face the same obstacles that women face, except they are also subjected to discrimination that I, as a cisgender woman, will never have to worry about.
        You’re looking at it the wrong way: you can’t advance one oppressed group to the detriment of another.
        Ensuring cis women’s higher ed opportunities cannot be reconciled with taking away those opportunities from trans women, because we are all women.
        It’s time to figure out a different way to approach the issue of sports scholarships and higher ed accessibility than by standing on the shoulders of the most marginalized among us.

  8. Liz version 700 says:

    Nice move! Hitting them in the pocketbook works wonders.

  9. Minal says:

    As someone whose country broke up in a bloody partition because the two sides couldn’t get along, good luck to you guys. You’re gonna need it.

    • Lizzie Bathory says:

      Well it’s been tried here & things didn’t go too well for the states that tried to secede, but it was, indeed, very bloody. And the whole mess was kicked off by my home state of South Carolina, which has been called “too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”

  10. faithmobile says:

    And to think my family almost picked up and moved to my home state of Tennessee. We are thriving in the Bay Area whilst our bigoted neighbors are moving out in droves. I’m proud of California but the real work will by progressives in red states.

  11. Rose says:

    I live in Oklahoma, can confirm that you don’t want to come here to visit anyway. The only thing that makes change around here is when people start getting nailed in the pocketbook.

    We’re the state that made it legal to mow down peaceful protestors in your car while simultaneously controlling women’s private reproductive health choices. Pro life my ass.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Rose, isn’t that the most egregious part in all of it! Pro-life my a$$!! We don’t want you to have the freedom to chose what you do with your body, but we will certainly allow you to birth the child from that horrific rape that you endured and yes, your rapist has parental right as well!!

      Plus, you women who live below the poverty level who need financial assistance regarding your gynecological care, don’t need to have access to Planned Parenthood because they offer safe and convenient OB/GYN care and we are all against abortions. So, please drive to your nearest PP that is 250 miles away on your minimum wage job!