Should California employees go to ‘anti-gay’ states?
March 7, 2016
A California assemblyman has introduced a bill that would ban state-funded travel to states that permit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill targets a host of states that have adopted religious freedom laws. [Sac Bee]
Evan Low, a Democrat from Campbell, introduced AB 1887 last month. The bill would prohibit California from sending state employees to states like Indiana that have “a law in effect that sanctions or requires discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
Last year, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed it into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The law allows plaintiffs to file lawsuits challenging anti-discrimination laws on the grounds that they infringe on their religious beliefs.
Multinational companies Apple and Eli Lily have publicly criticized the law. San Francisco and other cities responded by boycotting travel to Indiana.
“No one wants to send employees into an environment where they would be uncomfortable,” Low said.
Low’s bill, however, excludes California lawmakers and their staffs. He said the bill addresses administrative travel, not trips that are political in nature.
Low said he is unsure exactly which states his legislation targets.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says 21 states have enacted RFRA laws. The states include Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico, Tennessee and Virginia.
Low said he expects several Fortune 500 companies to support his bill. The LGBT-rights group Equality California is already a sponsor.