California bans travel to five more states in response to anti-trans laws

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California travel ban
California bans travel to five more states in response to recently enacted anti-transgender laws.

California bans travel to five more states in response to recently enacted anti-transgender laws. In addition to the 12 states that were previously banned state-paid travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia will be prohibited on the day that the laws become effective.

“In recent months, we’ve seen 250+ anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures, 95+ directly targeting transgender Americans,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta in a statement Monday. “Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry & discrimination. CA will not tolerate it.”

SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that California will restrict state-funded travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia as a result of new anti-LGBTQ+ legislation recently enacted in each state. The states are a part of a recent, dangerous wave of discriminatory new bills signed into law in states across the country 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. Many states pushing these new discriminatory laws are already on California’s travel restrictions list. The new restrictions on state-funded travel to the states announced today are prescribed by law in California pursuant to Assembly Bill 1887 (AB 1887), which was enacted in 2016.

“Assembly Bill 1887 is about aligning our dollars with our values,” said Attorney General Bonta. “When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action. These new additions to the state-funded travel restrictions list are about exactly that. It’s been 52 years to the day since the Stonewall Riots began, but that same fight remains all too alive and well in this country. Rather than focusing on solving real issues, some politicians think it’s in their best interest to demonize trans youth and block life-saving care. 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.”

In creating AB 1887, the California Legislature determined that California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. To that end, the law restricts a state agency, department, board, or commission from authorizing state-funded travel to a state that, after June 26, 2015, has enacted a law authorizing, or repealing existing protections against, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Each applicable California agency is responsible for consulting the AB 1887 list created by the California Department of Justice to comply with the travel and funding restrictions imposed by the law. With the additions announced today, there will be a total of 17 states on California’s state-funded travel restrictions list.

Information regarding the reasons and timeline for each new state’s inclusion on the AB 1887 list is as follows:

Arkansas
Arkansas is being added to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list as a result of Senate Bill 354, Senate Bill 289, and House Bill 1570. The first two bills were signed into law by the Governor on March 25 and March 26, respectively. The third bill was passed after Arkansas’ General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto on April 6. Senate Bill 354, among other things, prevents transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Senate Bill 289 allows medical providers to deny care to LGBTQ+ Americans. Lastly, House Bill 1570 is the first law in the nation to prohibit physicians from providing gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors, regardless of the wishes of parents or whether a physician deems such care to be medically necessary. Given the effective date for the new laws, Arkansas, pursuant to AB 1887, will be added to California’s travel restrictions list on July 29, 2021.

Florida
Florida is being added to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list as a result of Senate Bill 1028. Signed into law on the first day of Pride Month, Senate Bill 1028 prevents transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Given the effective date for the new law, Florida, pursuant to AB 1887, will be added to California’s travel restrictions list on July 1, 2021.

Montana
Montana is being added to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list as a result of House Bill 112 and Senate Bill 215. Signed into law on May 7, House Bill 112 prevents transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Signed into law on April 22, Senate Bill 215 overrides existing state and local laws and policies that prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans. It threatens to, among other effects, allow businesses to refuse a broad range of services to same-sex couples because of their sexual orientation alone. Given the effective date for the new laws, Montana, pursuant to AB 1887, will be added to California’s travel restrictions list on July 1, 2021.

North Dakota
North Dakota is being added to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list as a result of House Bill 1503. Signed into law on April 16, House Bill 1503, among other things, repeals existing protections at some North Dakota public universities by permitting certain publicly-funded student organizations to openly discriminate against LGBTQ+ students by restricting participation in those organizations. It also limits the ability of universities and colleges to sanction or discipline student-on-student harassment. Given the effective date for the new law, North Dakota, pursuant to AB 1887, will be added to California’s travel restrictions list on August 1, 2021.

West Virginia
West Virginia is being added to California’s state-funded travel restrictions list as a result of House Bill 3293. Signed into law on April 28, House Bill 3293 prevents transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Given the effective date for the new law, West Virginia, pursuant to AB 1887, will be added to California’s travel restrictions list on July 8, 2021.

For additional information on AB 1887, including the list of states subject to its provisions, visit: https://oag.ca.gov/ab1887.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender