California lawmakers voted to repeal a pro-LGBT law that Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration has continued to enforce and expand.
The proposed law would reverse California’s publicly funded travel ban to states that have passed laws that are perceived as discriminatory to LGBT people.
The bill would replace the travel ban with an outreach campaign that pushes ‘LGBTQ acceptance and inclusivity’ in red states instead.
“What we need is messaging that really goes to the heart of what regular people all across this country want, which is to live in peace,” said California state Senator Toni Atkins (D), the bill’s primary sponsor.
If signed by Newsom , the bill includes an urgency clause that would allow it to take effect immediately.
California’s travel ban was initially put into place in response in 2016 in response to North Carolina’s measure that banned transgender people from using public restrooms that did not align with their biological sex.
That law has since been repealed, but California’s travel ban has only expanded.
The state now bans travel to 26 states, keeping state workers – from elected officials to university professors – from travelling to over half the country on state-sponsored trips.
State Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) added Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming to the travel-ban list as recently as July.
Atkins and fellow state Democrats argue the ban has led to unintended consequences.
“In many instances, the travel ban has inadvertently caused California to isolate its services and citizens in a time when we are leading the nation in ensuring inclusivity and freedom,” Democratic Assemblymember Rick Zbur said Monday on the Assembly floor.
“If something is not working, I think it’s imperative on us to be able to switch gears,” said Democrat Assemblymember Chris Ward, vice chairman of the Legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus.
It is unclear whether Newsom will sign the bill, but he has until October 14th to make his decision.