Travel Bans Continue as California Adds Oklahoma to the List

By: - June 5, 2018 12:00 am

North Carolina scrapped its so-called bathroom law after the NBA and NCAA pulled events out of the state in protest. Half a dozen states ban travel by state employees to states with legislation deemed discriminatory, such as the ”bathroom bill” in North Carolina. California bans travel to nine states, including most recently Oklahoma. Gerry Broome/AP

California has added a ninth state to its travel ban for state employees, barring them from traveling to Oklahoma to protest laws California officials consider to be discriminatory against gay people.

Oklahoma enacted a law this year allowing adoption agencies to refuse to work with gay or transgender people. California also bars its state employees from traveling for work-related purposes to Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

At least six states bar employees from “non-essential” work travel to states with laws they view as discriminatory, including restrictions on bathroom use, adoption protocols and one that critics said would allow students to keep gay classmates from joining school clubs.

Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington have banned state employee travel to North Carolina and Mississippi. Connecticut’s ban targets just North Carolina. Cities across the United States also have adopted bans.

Though critics call the bans symbolic, leaders of blue cities in otherwise red states say they’ve had a negative impact on their tourism industry, as many organizers of conventions whose attendees include public employees have chosen to go elsewhere.

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Rebecca Beitsch

Rebecca Beitsch writes about energy and the environment for Stateline. She covered state government in Missouri and North Dakota, writing about politics and policy for NewsRadio KMOX, the Columbia Missourian and the Bismarck Tribune.