The state of California responded in 2016 to a nationwide outrage over a North Carolina law that prohibited transgender persons from using restrooms that corresponded to their gender identity.
Legislators in California prohibited state-funded travel to any state that implemented anti-LGBTQ legislation. Assemblyman Evan Low, the boycott’s instigator, explained that the boycott was a “fightback against the discriminatory measures established in places like North Carolina.”.
At the time of its enactment, the law covered four states. For budgetary reasons, California does not keep track of how much money has been withheld due to the law’s implementation.
While other states pass anti-abortion and pro-gun laws, California continues to push hundreds of other bills in response, bringing this 2016 ban back into the forefront – and it appears to be experiencing some pushback.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s trip to Montana, which is on the list of prohibited states, is at least part of the reason for this. It’s legal for Newsom to travel for personal reasons, and his office insists his state-funded security detail does not. While that may have seemed like a slap in the face to Republicans, the timing couldn’t have been better.
As a result of the journey, attention was drawn to how far the prohibition had expanded since its inception. Those states that pass discriminatory legislation in the future will be included in this list.
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As a result, the number of states where transgender people are outlawed has increased from four to 22. An attorney general who voted for the measure as a Democrat and now serves as attorney general has released an updated list of those who have been removed from the registry.
Indiana and Utah are the newest entrants. Shortly, new laws in Louisiana and Arizona will make them official additions to the list. Last year, Montana, where Governor Newsom likes to vacation, was included on the list.
Six years after California’s law went into effect, the list reveals how split the states have grown, and how our blue state is in opposition to over half of the country on LGBTI issues.
According to critics, the prohibition isn’t working because the list has grown rather than decreased. The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times urged last week that the law be repealed, citing the many loopholes and problems it has generated for academics in California. A Sacramento Bee columnist also claimed that the law is meaningless, citing the many loopholes and problems it has created.
In California, the laws apply only to the state. According to Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio: “As much as we would like to push our principles on other states, it just doesn’t work that way.” As one observer noted, “It’s a feel-good measure with zero effect.”
Critics of Low’s bill, the author and chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, said that they were missing the point, according to Low, the measure’s author. In the original intent of the law, it wasn’t meant to be punitive or to set states against each other. He claimed it was designed to keep state workers from having to travel to regions where they would be discriminated against.
I spoke to him about these “very harmful laws” against LGBT people, and he said that their expansion across the country only emphasizes that California workers should not be obliged to work in these places.
We won’t put Californians in danger, says Low, because of the underlying ethos of the plan.
Finally, some good news before we part ways.
Until recently, Chinook salmon from California were unable to return to the McCloud River, which had been their breeding ground for more than 80 years. The construction of the Shasta Dam impeded their access to the icy alpine springs near Mount Shasta, which they had sought for centuries.
About 20,000 winter-run salmon eggs were amassed by state and federal wildlife workers and transported to a campground near the river this month.
Salmon eggs came in a cooler for the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, which has long attempted to return the fish to its ancestral waters.
Tribe spiritual leader Caleen Sisk said, “This is history for California that we’ve done this,” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a wonderful blessing,” he says of the situation.