Texas Attorney General's office responds to California's 'travel ban'

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's Communications Director Marc Rylander says when they heard the news about the California to Texas state-sponsored travel ban, they just rolled their eyes and kept going.

"It's most interesting to me that the Attorney General of California supports a travel ban against Texas and yet at the same time he's against keeping terrorists out of the United States via another travel ban," Rylander said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Thursday he's prohibiting state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas.  Joining the ranks of Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee who are already on the prohibition list.

Becerra says each of those states have laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

In a press release, Becerra wrote "While the California DOJ works to protect the rights of all our people, discriminatory laws in any part of our country send all of us several steps back.  That's why when California said we would not tolerate discrimination against LGBTQ members of our community, we meant it," Becerra said.

John Wittman, spokesperson for Texas Governor Gregg Abbott told Fox 7 "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."

The Texas legislation California is taking issue with is HB 3859 relating to child welfare service providers.

"Agencies are permitted now to discriminate against LGBT couples who may want to adopt...or LGBT families or children in our care.  It's definitely tragic.  It can cause real harm to kids in the child welfare system," said Kathy Miller, Executive Director of Texas Freedom Network, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for public education, religious and civil liberties. 

Miller says the travel ban is not a surprise.

"I think that Texans should demand that our state be open to everyone, in adoption, in employment, in housing, in education.  We should be the most welcoming, not one of the least welcoming states," Miller said.

Rylander feels the ban is just California politicians grandstanding.

"We see this all the time from the left coast...all the time and the reality is this travel ban means nothing, it means nothing to Texas and we're going to continue to do business in the most thriving economy and times that this state has ever seen," Rylander said.

The state law contains exemptions for some trips, such as travel needed to enforce California law and to honor contracts made before 2017.

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