- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The day may be coming when California public employees are permitted to travel on business only to blue states.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday added South Carolina to the growing list of states banned from state-sponsored travel, citing the Palmetto State’s 2018 budget bill allowing faith-based adoption and foster-care services to operate according to their religious beliefs.

“The State of South Carolina recently enacted a measure that sanctions discrimination against families in the placement of children in need of homes,” said Mr. Becerra in a statement. “The State of California stands strongly against any form of discrimination.”

He cited California Assembly Bill 1887, the 2017 state law that “authorizes my office to make that promise real,” said Mr. Becerra. “Pursuant to AB 1887, California will now bar state-funded or sponsored travel to South Carolina.”

The South Carolina law “enables private faith-based child-placing agencies to discriminate against those who do not conform to their religious beliefs or moral convictions, including members of the LGBTQ community,” Mr. Becerra said. “Although H-4950 does not mention sexual orientation explicitly, it is written broadly enough to authorize such discrimination.”

The ban will take effect on April 15, he said, making the South Carolina the tenth state on California’s no-travel list.

The others are Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The California measure contains exceptions for law enforcement and tax collection, and public universities and colleges have continued to travel for scheduled games and post-season events, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Brian Symmes, spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, appeared unfazed by the California travel ban, dismissing it as an attempt to “score cheap political points.”

“If Attorney General Becerra was interested in the truth, he would know this is all about protecting South Carolinians’ religious freedom – regardless of their faith,” Mr. Symmes told the State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.

“While he tries to score cheap political points, we’ll be more than happy to continue recruiting businesses that are leaving overregulated, high tax states like California to come to South Carolina and create opportunities for our people,” Mr. Symmes said.

The California law “prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states with laws that authorize or require discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,” according to the Becerra press release.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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