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January 10, 2017

California’s Ban on Travel to States With Anti-LGBT Laws Takes Effect

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California meeting planners looking to book government-sponsored events take note: the state’s new ban on state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states that allow discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity is now in effect, The Advocate reports. The law, which was first passed back in September, took effect January 1 of this year and bans state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kansas

The law includes California state agencies, the Legislature and public California universities, according to the LA Times, although it exempts trips made to enforce California law and to meet contractual obligations made before January 1, 2016.  

According to The Hill, the new law will impact everything from the travel of state employees to conferences to the University of California system’s football schedule. 

The ban follows last year’s passage of HB2 in North Carolina, which prevents transgender people from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity, The Advocate reports. That law prompted a boycott from California and other states, businesses, entertainers and sports leagues, as well as a letter of protest signed by a number of major hospitality companies. Also last year Mississippi passed a low allowing businesses to deny services to LGBT people, single mothers and others who offend an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief,” and Kansas passed legislation that allows student groups at public colleges to deny membership to individuals based on the same standard. Tennessee  passed a law allowing licensed counselors to refuse service to LGBT people suffering from mental health issues. The new governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, has promised to repeal HB2, although a push to do so in December failed. 

Five other states have also barred public employees from traveling to North Carolina since North Carolina adopted HB2, and the NCAA has moved seven championship events out of the state, according to The Sacramento Bee. In an analysis published in Wired last September, the publication estimated that the bill had cost the state as much as $500 million in lost business and tourism. 

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About the Author: Adam Leposa





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