California no longer bans state-funded travel to more than half of the country

California no longer bans state-funded travel to more than half of the country.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 447 into law, ending the seven-year-old travel ban that prohibited state money from being used to pay for travel to states with anti-LGBTQ laws.

The ban caused difficulties for many state agencies, researchers, student athletes and others who rely on state money. Even supporters of the ban acknowledged that the law was not having the deterrent effect it was intended to — with more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures across the country so far this year.

SB 447 replaces the ban with a state-funded, non-partisan advertising campaign in anti-LGBTQ states, which will spread a message of inclusivity, according to its supporters.

“In the face of a rising tide of anti-LGBTQ+ hate, this measure helps California’s message of acceptance, equality and hope reach the places where it is most needed,” Newsom said.

SB 447 was the brainchild of Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. Atkins, who is a lesbian, has described growing up feeling isolated and alone. She has said that SB 447 is intended to help others not have to go through that experience.

“There’s so much hate, so much hurt, so much harm being inflicted on people who are just trying to live their authentic lives,” Atkins said in a statement. “...We will be the bridge to a more understanding and compassionate nation.”

The bill passed on largely bipartisan lines, with Democrats largely voting in favor of it and Republicans largely voting against.

Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, who authored the original 2016 law, did not vote on the bill.