California bans state-paid travel to Idaho over new laws

FILE - In this March 5, 2019, file photo, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. Becerra on Monday, June 22, 2020, added Idaho to a list of 11 other states where state-funded travel isn't allowed because he determined that they violate a California law. That 2017 law is intended to guard against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday added Idaho to a list of 11 other states where state-funded travel isn’t allowed because he determined that they violate a California law.

That 2017 law is intended to guard against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Becerra cited two new Idaho laws that he said allow discrimination against transgender people. One repeals protections enabling transgender students to compete on athletic teams consistent with their gender identity; the second bars amending birth certificates so they are consistent with the person’s gender identity.

The travel ban takes effect July 1 and includes sports teams at public universities.

Idaho State football is scheduled to host Sacramento State and UC Davis in the 2020 season.

The Big Sky Conference has one full member from California, Sacramento State, and two other affiliate (football-only) members, UC Davis and Cal Poly.

According to Michael Lycklama of the Idaho Statesman, spokespeople from Idaho State said that “{span}it’s too early to know how California’s ban on state-funded travel to Idaho will affect (the) athletic department.”{/span}

Becerra said in announcing the restriction that Idaho’s laws amount to “drastic steps to undermine the rights of the transgender community, preventing people from playing sports in school or having documentation that reflects their identity.”

“I do not believe that protecting the rights of women and girls to participate in athletics or recording objective facts constitute discrimination,” responded Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little.

Idaho House Minority Leader Representative Ilana Rubel of Boise, on behalf of the Idaho Joint Democratic Caucus, said majority Republican lawmakers who passed the legislation had been warned by the state’s current and former attorneys general that the laws were unconstitutional, and by business leaders that the laws could be costly to the state’s economy.

“It was extremely foreseeable that Idaho’s new anti-transgender laws would create a cascading financial disaster for our state,” she said in a statement. “Now, our reeling businesses and workers must pay the price.”

She noted that the National Collegiate Athletic Association is also considering blacklisting the state over the laws.

The other states already on the prohibited list are Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.