Attorney General Rob Ponta (D) announced Monday that California is adding five more states to the list of places where state-funded travel will be banned.
The ban came in response to Republican-led actions in states that have passed or pursued measures that restrict access to health care for transgender individuals or require transgender schoolchildren to participate in sports that are compatible with their gender instead of their gender identity.
The Sacramento Bee reported that the states added to the California ban are Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia, bringing the total of banned states to 17.
The Travel Act is known as Assembly Bill 1887.
“The Assembly Bill 1887 is all about aligning our dollars with our values,” Ponta said. “Make no mistake: We are in the midst of an unprecedented wave of intolerance and discrimination in this country – and the state of California will not support it.”
In a statement Tuesday, West Virginia’s attorney general, Patrick Morrissey, criticized his California counterpart for including West Virginia on the list of states to be banned from travel.
“States should not punish other countries for political differences,” Morrissey said. “The economic coercion that California has shown is an affront to the dignity of other sovereign states, and it amounts to legislating across state lines in an effort to impose the radical worldview of large states on those who live elsewhere.”
Morrissey argued that federalism works best when individual states can pursue policies supported by their constituents.
“And in West Virginia, our office will advocate for the state’s efforts to protect the integrity of women’s sports,” he added. “Title IX has opened many opportunities for girls and women across Mountain State and beyond. This legislation maintains fair competition. It is simply wrong for other states to exert financial pressure in this way.”
Assemblyman Evan Low (Democrat), who wrote the law, said the symbolism behind the law is important.
The Bee reports that the University of California, the University of California Board of Trustees, and California State University are all subject to the travel law, which takes effect in new states this summer.
The newspaper pointed out that the states that were already included in the travel ban in California are Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
Updated 12:30 pm