SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The list of states where California state-sponsored travel is prohibited has doubled. Attorney General Xavier Becerra made the announcement last week adding four more states to the list.
“It does pose some real challenges for how faculty do our jobs,” said Kevin Wehr, a professor at Sacramento State.
He says travel restrictions could put students and educators in a tight spot.
“If that conference is now in Dallas [Texas], the university will no longer be able to reimburse me for travel to that,” said Wehr.
Conferences to share research and studies could be missed. The impact of the travel restrictions may also be felt by athletic departments.
“Our scholar-athletes may have some difficulties going to certain games,” said Wehr, “our coaches may have trouble recruiting if they can’t travel to certain states.”
Wehr says despite the challenges, he agrees with the spirit of the ban, which has now grown.
For the last seven months, state-funded travel to Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina and Kansas has been restricted. Beginning in January, state travel to Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and Kentucky will also be banned.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says these states have laws that discriminate against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
“These laws are simply just so far out of step with California’s law and public policy,” said Jo Michael with Equality California.
He says the restricting state dollars from flowing into these states is only part of the purpose.
“[We are] standing in solidarity with the people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer in other states,” said Michael.
But there has already been pushback from elected leaders in states listed as part of the ban. Some calling it a cheap political stunt and hypocritical.
A Texas state representative, Wayne Frank, telling the Houston Chronicle newspaper, “While California prides itself on being ‘open-minded,’ it is only open-minded if you kneel at the altar of a certain political agenda.”
The extent to how athletic department will be affected is yet to be seen. The university system of California says it will deal with situations as they arise.
The law does include some exceptions for travel, such as previously signed contractual agreements and essential travel by law enforcement.