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California's travel ban blocks state-funded travel to four more states over LGBT issues

California has banned state travel to four states —\n Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, and Kentucky — over LGBT issues. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) declared Thursday that his state would not be funding any trips to four different states across the country because those states have what he says are "anti-LGBT laws."

Golden State employees will no longer be able to travel on any state-sponsored trips to Texas, Alabama, South Dakota, and Kentucky, bringing the total number of states banned to eight. California lawmakers passed a bill last year that bans non-essential travel to states that they believe discriminate against the LGBT community, and included in the initial bill were North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

According to Fox News, Becerra said that his actions would ensure that California taxpayer money "will not be used to let people travel to states who chose to discriminate."

Texas earned the ire of Becerra after passing a law in May allowing faith-based child welfare groups to deny services and adoptions to certain families under circumstances that conflict with the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs. Christian groups applauded the measure, while critics have said the law would leave room for discrimination against LGBT families.

Alabama and South Dakota enacted similar laws, while a law passed in Kentucky in March aimed at protecting religious expression in public schools. The law allows student-led school clubs and organizations the right to refuse members on the grounds of a deeply held religious belief.

Although the ban puts a halt on non-essential travel like conferences or out-of-state training, it does include exemptions for honoring contracts that were authorized before 2017 and travel to enforce California state law.

John Wittman, a spokesman for Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, said that although state employees might be banned from travel, Texas was still attracting many Californians.

"California may be able to stop their state employees, but they can't stop all the businesses that are fleeing over taxation and regulation and relocating to Texas," Wittman said.

California's Fresno State University is slated to play football against the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this season, but no ruling from Becerra's office has been issued to determine whether public university sports travel is included in the ban.

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