Why California Bans State-Funded Travel to 22 States

In 2016, amid national outcry over a law in North Carolina that prohibits transgender people from using toilets consistent with their gender identity, California went against it with its own legislation.

California lawmakers have banned state-funded travel to any state that has enacted anti-LGBTQ laws. The boycott was a way to “fight back against the discriminatory policies adopted in states like North Carolina,” the author, Councilman Evan Low, said at the time.

The law, which applied to four states when it was passed, seemed mostly symbolic. It was not expected to inflict a major financial blow to the banned states, and California does not keep track of how much money has been withheld as a result of the law.

Six years later, as California pushes through dozens of other bills in response to anti-abortion and pro-gun legislation enacted elsewhere in the country, this 2016 ban has been thrust back into the spotlight — and appears to be facing some backlash.

At least partly to blame is a summer vacation that took Governor Gavin Newsom to banned states Montana. Personal travel is not prohibited and Newsom’s office says his state-funded security detail does not break the law. But the optic caught the eye and came right after he lashed out at Republican-led states for embracing conservative policies.

The trip also drew attention to how much the ban has expanded since its early days. The law was written in such a way that states would be added to the list if they passed discriminatory legislation in the future.

And amid a wave of anti-transgender laws in state houses across the country, the number of banned states has grown from four to 22. The latest list was announced last month by Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is required to update the list. and who voted for the bill when he was a Democratic Member of Parliament.

The newest additions are Indiana and Utah. Louisiana and Arizona will be officially added soon as new laws go into effect there. Newsom’s vacation spot, Montana, was put on the list last year.

The vast selection shows how divided states have become in the six years since California enacted its law — and how our blue state is in opposition to nearly half the country on LGBTQ policies.

Critics say the ban is clearly not having the desired effect, as the list has exploded rather than shrunk. Citing the many loopholes in the law and some of the problems it has caused for academics in California, the Los Angeles Times editors last week recommended that the law be repealed and a Sacramento Bee columnist said it’s pointless.

“California laws are for California. As much as we like to impose our values ​​on other states, it just doesn’t work,” Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio told me. “It’s a feel-good measure that really has no effect.”

But Low, the author of the bill and chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, said the criticisms missed the mark. The law was not intended to punish or set states against each other. It was to prevent state workers from traveling to places where they could be discriminated against, he said.

These anti-LGBTQ measures are “incredibly dangerous laws that harm the most vulnerable,” he told me, and their spread across the country only reinforces that California workers shouldn’t be required to work in those places.

“The basic spirit of it is that we won’t put Californians in danger,” Low said.

For $3 million: a 1923 Mediterranean-style home in Pasadena, a Victorian home in Fair Oaks, and a Craftsman bungalow in Redwood City.

Today’s tip comes from Edie Williams, who lives in Auburn, Maine:

“My favorite place is Death Valley.

I love driving over the mountains and then descending to Death Valley, which is below sea level. The vast expanse of awe-inspiring beauty. Many shades of color. Few buildings and few people. So quiet.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected] We will share more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.


As water restrictions take their toll in Southern California, tell us: What’s wrong with your lawn? Trying to keep your grass green? Or has the drought prompted you to uproot your grass?

Let us know at [email protected] State your name and where you live.


For more than 80 years, the California Chinook salmon couldn’t swim in the McCloud River, which had once been their spawning ground. Construction of the Shasta Dam blocked their path to the cold mountain waters at Mount Shasta.

But this month, state and federal wildlife officials collected about 20,000 winter-run salmon eggs and took them to a campground on the banks of the river.

Members of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, who have long tried to return salmon to their ancestral waters, held a ceremony when the eggs arrived in a cooler.

“This is California history that we did this,” Caleen Sisk, the chieftain and spiritual leader, told The Los Angeles Times. “It’s a real blessing.”


Thank you for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

Correction: Yesterday’s newsletter misquoted Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County public health director. She said, “So no one should go into a room and say, ‘I’m not taking any risk,'” not, “So no one should go into a room and say, ‘I’m not taking any risk.’ ”