California is now looking down its virtuous blue nose at more than one-third of the United States.
On Monday, the state’s Democratic attorney general, Rob Bonta, announced that a ban on state-funded travel to states whose LGBT laws and policies are insufficiently liberal has expanded from 12 to 17 states.
Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia were added to the list.
Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas were already on the list, according to Politico.
California passed AB 1887 five years ago to block state-funded travel to states of which it disapproves.
“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,” Bonta said in a statement.
Florida, Montana and West Virginia were added because, in a blow to the transgender political movement, they all passed laws banning men from competing against women in sports regardless of gender identification.
Arkansas was slapped by the deep-blue state for laws that, according to Bonta, include one that “prohibits physicians from providing gender-affirming healthcare to transgender minors.”
North Dakota is banned due to state action to allow “certain publicly-funded student organizations to openly discriminate against LGBTQ+ students by restricting participation in those organizations,” the attorney general 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,” Bonta said.
The initial reaction from the banned states was that California could go jump into the ocean for all they cared.
“While state employees may be barred from traveling here, Californians are fleeing by the thousands to places like Arkansas for our lower taxes, lower cost of living, and abundant opportunities,” Hutchinson said. “The lure of our state parks and quality of life will overcome any edict from the California Attorney General.”
The spokeswoman for another GOP governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, also pushed back against the Golden State.
“Congratulations to California for somehow managing to create a new way to politicize its bureaucracy,” press secretary Christina Pushaw said in a statement.
“The bill Governor DeSantis signed is not discriminatory; in fact, it’s the opposite — the legislation ensures that women’s sports remain fair. On the contrary, allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports is discriminatory, because it puts girls and women at a disadvantage based on immutable, innate characteristics,” she said.
“I respectfully suggest that California’s government focus on fixing the problems in their own state instead of worrying about Florida,” Pushaw said.
The Associated Press noted that some essential travel to banned list states is still allowed, but travel for conferences or out-of-state training is not.
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