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California Lawmakers Vote To Overturn Travel Ban, Launch LGBTQ Ad Campaign In Red States

California’s State Assembly passed a bill on Monday that would lift the state’s current ban on government-funded travel to states that have passed “anti-LGBTQ” laws, The Associated Press reported.

The current travel ban prevents elected officials, public university students and state-funded groups from using government funds to go to a total of 26 states, according to the AP. The bill, introduced by Democratic state Senate Leader Toni Atkins, would lift the ban and replace it with an advertising campaign promoting LGBTQ acceptance in states that have “discriminatory” laws, a press release from Atkins’ office said.

“California has long been a leader in inclusion and acceptance, and a beacon of hope for so many LGBTQ+ people, myself included,” Atkins wrote in a May press release. “Hundreds of discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced this year alone – it’s unprecedented, and my heart hurts for all of the folks in other states where this is happening. … This bill is about reaching out to them with messages of support and understanding, and at the same time, helping open hearts and minds so that acceptance, instead of animosity, wins the day.”

Atkins introduced the bill in response to issues caused by the travel ban, according to the AP. Sports teams at public universities often resorted to fundraisers to attend out-of-state games, and government officials faced increasing restrictions as the number of states with “anti-LGBTQ” laws exponentially grew from the original four.

California banned travel to three new states — Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming — in July for their laws preventing athletes who claim to be transgender from participating in the category that fits their “gender identity,” according to a press release.

California also banned travel to Kentucky in 2017 for its law that would allow students to potentially “discriminate against classmates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to a press release. The Kentucky law allows students to share their religious and political viewpoints freely, and lets students read the Bible and start religious extracurricular clubs in public schools, according to the bill.

Atkins introduced an advertising campaign in the bill that will specifically target states with laws that “discriminate” against persons who identify as LGBTQ, according to the bill’s text. California will establish a 10-member committee to create the media campaign and advise the state on LGBTQ advertising content and “strategic outreach.”

“Media campaigns … shall be designed to educate the public and promote antidiscrimination, issues LGBTQ+ communities face, civil rights, acceptance and inclusion of all people,” the bill details.

The bill will go to the state Senate for a final vote before going to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk to be signed, the AP reported. Newsom will have until Oct. 14 to sign the bill into law.

The California governor’s office declined to comment on the pending legislation. Atkins did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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