Four more states are now on the banned list for California to spend public funds on travel. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra added Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas as states non-grata for state-funded travel on official business. This also applies to all levels of government, including the college systems. It may also affect athletic programs such as Fresno State.

Those four states join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. They are on the banned list because of AB 1887, passed by the California legislature in 2016. That law bars publicly-funded travel to states that have laws that are interpreted to discriminate on the basis of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) status.

“Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights. Sadly, that is not the case in all parts of our nation, even in the 21st century. I am announcing today that I am adding four states to the list of states where California-funded or sponsored travel will be restricted on account of the discriminatory nature of laws enacted by those states,” Becerra said in a statement e-mailed to the media.

There are plenty of exceptions to the law, including contracts signed before January 1, 2017 (when the law took effect). Fresno State’s scheduled football games at Alabama (September 9, 2017; signed in 2015) and at Texas A&M (September 26, 2020; signed in 2016) should be able to continue since they preceded the ban. No other future football games are scheduled in the affected states.

While reports that the Fresno State-Alabama game is still on, it is unclear about other games, including two women’s basketball games scheduled in Texas this coming season (November 24 at UT Arlington and November 25 at Texas State). The men’s team has not announced its full schedule for the 2017-18 season yet.

“We will continue to evaluate AB 1887 and work with legal counsel to ensure compliance with this bill,” said Fresno State deputy director of athletics Steve Robertello.

GV Wire asked the attorney general’s office on the legal status of those Texas games. They were unsure. “While we cannot provide legal advice to individual agencies as to how they should interpret the exemptions as applied to their specific circumstances, our office intends to provide guidance on this general issue soon,” an attorney general spokesman e-mailed.

While regular season games can be rescheduled, there is a question about postseason competition. It is possible that Fresno State would become eligible to participate in a major bowl game, namely the New Year’s Six games. One of those games is at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

Additionally, the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament has games scheduled in Wichita, KS; Dallas, and Charlotte, NC. Lexington, Kentucky is also a regional final location for the 2018 women’s tournament. The preliminary rounds for other sports such as women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s baseball and women’s softball are selected after the respective regular seasons.

Other NCAA sports which Fresno State participates in which has postseason completion in the affected states include Cross Country (College Station, TX and Tuscaloosa, AL); Field Hockey (Louisville, KY); Indoor Track & Field (College Station, TX); and Tennis (Winston-Salem, North Carolina).

In a FAQ at the University of California website, it answers the question what if a team is scheduled to play in a bowl game (or other postseason contest in the banned states)?

“If a contract to participate in an event was entered into before January 1, 2017, then it would be permissible to use state funds to travel to participate in a bowl game or other type of sporting competition. If the contract was entered into on or after January 1, 2017, then state funds should not be used for the travel,” the answer reads.

Perhaps this question was already answered when it was first put into play this past March. The UCLA men’s basketball team had their postseason game scheduled in Memphis, Tennessee. Despite the travel ban enacted, they participated anyway.

The Los Angeles Times reported that UCLA got around the ban because its “athletic department is not covered by the law because it doesn’t receive funding from the state’s general fund. Its revenue comes from ticket sales, sponsorships, student fees and gifts. Apparently that reasoning has persuaded even the author of the boycott legislation.”

The big question left unanswered for now is how this might affect recruiting. Texas has long been known as a football hotbed. Ten players on the current Fresno State 2017 roster hail from the Lon Star State.

The bill was authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Cupertino). He wrote in a statement to GV Wire: “AB 1887 was enacted to ensure our taxpayer dollars do not fund bigotry or hatred. Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s action today sends a strong message that discrimination beyond our borders will not be tolerated. I applaud AG Becerra for upholding our California values and holding states accountable for their discriminatory policies,” said Low, also the chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the four new states were added because:

  • Alabama: HB 24 was enacted on May 2, 2017. HB 24 could prevent qualified prospective LGBT parents from adopting or serving as foster parents.
  • Kentucky: SB 17 was enacted on March 16, 2017. SB 17 could allow student-run organizations in colleges and K-12 schools to discriminate against classmates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • South Dakota: SB 149 was enacted March 10, 2017. SB 149 could prevent qualified LGBT couples from adopting or serving as foster parents.
  • Texas: HB 3859 was enacted on June 15, 2017. HB 3859, allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system.


What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.

Contact David Taub

Phone: 559-492-4037 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

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