California Lawmakers Vote to Lift Travel Ban to Anti-LGBTQ+ States

( – Legislators in Sacramento have voted to repeal a ban on state-funded travel to states that have passed laws that were deemed to be discriminatory to their residing LGBTQ communities. California lawmakers appear to have decided that enough was enough after dealing with the financial repercussions of their policy for 5 years running.

The state began restricting official travel to allegedly anti-LGBTQ locations in 2017. Kansas found itself on the list first, though the Jayhawker State was quickly joined by Mississippi. North Carolina and Tennessee followed, but the ban did not stop there. Twenty-three other states were eventually added to the list as more and more locations passed restrictions on items like genital-mutilation surgeries and LGBTQ classroom instruction.

California’s travel prohibition was not limited to the state’s political class and elected officials. Academics from public colleges and state employees were also subject to the effects of the ban. After the bill’s passage, sports teams were forced to privately fund extensive travel costs. Excluding administrative staff, some university football programs can have as many as 125 players on their roster.

State workers whose jobs dictated that they travel to the so-called anti-LGBTQ regions were obligated to fund their trips themselves without the possibility of reimbursement. The bill is also reported to have sowed confusion amongst individuals taking advantage of the state’s abortion tourism industry. Abortion-seeking mothers were once given unfettered reimbursements for the cost of travel associated with the procedure.

On September 11, legislators finally voted to upend the ban, though not without certain conditions being applied. Before agreeing to lift travel restrictions, lawmakers demanded that the state establish and fund a pro-LGBTQ advertising and outreach campaign in anti-LGBTQ states. Toni Atkins, the state Senator who introduced the idea, identifies as a lesbian.

Democratic Assemblyman Rick Zbur acknowledged that the ban had “inadvertently caused” his state “to isolate” its residents, state workers, academics and athletes. Gov. Newsom has until November 14 to sign the bill.

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