California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) has announced that the state will be restricting state-funded travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia over the passage of legislation he said is discriminatory against LGBT Americans.
Bonta pointed to GOP-backed measures targeting transgender girls on female sports teams at schools that have advanced in the five states in recent months as reason for the ban on Monday.
Since 2016, California has prohibited state-funded travel to other states with laws considered discriminatory under legislation known as AB 1887. Bonta cited the law when announcing the new restrictions. “When states discriminate against LGBTQ+ Americans, California law requires our office to take action,” Bonta said in the statement on Monday, which also marked the anniversary of the start of the Stonewall riots.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he continued.
As part of the law, state agencies, departments, boards and commissions are prohibited from authorizing state-funded travel to a state that has enacted legislation “authorizing, or repealing existing protections against, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” Bonta’s office said.
The office said that the addition of the five states to its state-funded travel restrictions list will bring its total to 17.
In 2019, California added Iowa to the list after the state passed legislation barring Medicaid spending on gender transition surgeries.
The state added Oklahoma to the list the year before over legislation allowing adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples on religious grounds as well as Texas and several more states in 2017 for legislation limiting LGBT people’s rights.