AB 1887 forbids taxpayer-funded travel to states that are interpreted to have discriminatory laws against the LGBT community. But the real-world application of how the law works are yet to be fully known.
Signed into law in 2016 and going into effect January 1, 2017, the statute bars official trips to 16% of the other states in the Union. Four states initially made the list: Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. Another four, Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas, were recently added.
Fresno State president Joseph Castro is currently at an educational conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Normally, this would be an expected trip by the leader of the Valley’s premier university. However, future visits for any type of activity in the Volunteer State would be banned by California law.
There are seven listed exemptions to the law. One of them is to “meet contractual obligations incurred before January 1, 2017.” According to Fresno State spokesman Tom Uribes, Castro’s arrangements were made prior to the New Year, thus allowing Castro’s trip.
The bill was authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Cupertino). It easily won approval in both the state Senate (26-12) and Assembly (56-21). The Valley delegation voted on AB 1887 along party lines. In the Assembly, Democrats Dr. Joaquin Arambula and Adam Gray voted in favor; Republicans Frank Bigelow, Devon Mathis and Jim Patterson voted no.
In the Senate, Republicans Tom Berryhill and Andy Vidak registered no votes. Anthony Canella did not vote.
Tennessee is in AB 1887’s cross-hairs because of a 2016 law that some LGBT advocacy groups call discriminatory and mean spirited. SB 1556 would allow licensed therapists in a private practice the right to decline treatment based on a sincerely held religious beliefs. The Human Rights Council says the bill is motivated “by nothing more than animosity towards LGBT people.”