Florida has come under intense scrutiny nationwide over legislation that critics have called the “Don't Say Gay" law. The legislation, which Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law on March 28, bars instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade in Florida.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order in February directing the state’s child welfare agency to investigate reports of gender-confirming care for transgender youth as abuse. On March 11, a Texas state district judge temporarily blocked the directive.
Legislation directed at the LGBTQ community sometimes draws criticism from state or local government officials in other states and communities in the United States. VERIFY viewer Verushka sent us a text asking if a social media post claiming Los Angeles County banned official travel to Texas is true. Other posts online also claim the county has also imposed a travel ban for the state of Florida.
Did Los Angeles County ban travel to Texas and Florida over LGBTQ laws?
- California Assembly Bill 1887
- Supreme Court briefs filed by Texas and California
- Rob Bonta, attorney general of California
- Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
- Motion filed by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis
Yes, Los Angeles County did ban government-funded travel to Texas and Florida over LGBTQ laws.
WHAT WE FOUND
In 2016, the state of California passed Assembly Bill 1887 (AB 1887). The law, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, banned state-funded or state-sponsored travel to other states that were deemed to have anti-LGBTQ laws. As of April 14, 2022, 18 states are on the ban list, including Texas and Florida.
According to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, AB 1887 serves two purposes – as an employer, the state wants to protect its employees from hostilities, and it doesn’t want to spend money in states that don’t share its values towards the LGBTQ community.
In February 2020, Texas sued California over AB 1887, arguing that the law is unconstitutional, but in April 2021 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case and the law still stands today.
Los Angeles County’s travel ban is a local-level policy that mirrors AB 1887.
A motion filed by Los Angeles County supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis on April 5 directed Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Fesia Davenport to suspend all travel to the states of Texas and Florida in response to the states’ recent anti-LGBTQ policies. The motion was passed unanimously during a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting held on the same day.
Other states and communities in the U.S. have imposed similar government-related travel restrictions in the past over other states’ anti-LGBTQ laws.
In 2016, Washington, Minnesota, and four other states, along with dozens of cities, including Washington, D.C., banned travel to North Carolina over the state’s controversial “bathroom law,” known as House Bill 2 (HB 2), according to news reports. HB 2 required people to use the bathroom of the gender that was assigned to them at birth. The law was mostly repealed in 2017 following the backlash.
State travel bans, including AB 1887, typically have several exceptions. For instance, AB 1887 does not apply to state travel that is required for enforcement of California law, litigation, or for the protection of public health, welfare, or safety, such as when firefighters travel to other states to assist during disasters. The travel bans also only apply to publicly funded trips, meaning there are no restrictions on residents traveling on their own to the banned states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report