California Democrat proposed lifting travel ban to GOP states before Newsom announced tour

Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a California Democratic Party event. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

California Democrat proposed lifting travel ban to GOP states before Newsom announced tour

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A California Democrat is proposing legislation to repeal a statewide ban prohibiting lawmakers from using taxpayer dollars to travel to Republican states — just one day before Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a tour visiting several places on the ban list.

State Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins introduced a bill on Wednesday seeking to overturn a 2016 law that bars California lawmakers from traveling to GOP-led states on official businesses because of policies that “discriminate” against gay and transgender people. The legislation came just one day before Newsom launched a tour to Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi — which are included in the ban — to promote his newly announced political action committee.


Atkins cited travel complications as part of her reasoning to repeal the 2016 law, noting the ban has unintentionally isolated members of the LGBT community and has made it harder for California residents to conduct research or business with other states. When the ban was enacted, it was initially meant to cover only four states but now extends to 23, according to Atkins.

“The shift in direction also will help further position California as a national leader of inclusivity and beacon of hope and support for those who have been isolated by state-sponsored discrimination elsewhere,” Atkins said.

A spokesperson for the governor told the Washington Free Beacon that the legislation had nothing to do with Newsom’s travel plans, adding that no employees paid by taxpayer dollars would be on the trip.

Newsom is scheduled to hit the road this week to promote his newly created Campaign for Democracy, which aims to target GOP policies in Republican-led states. The organization is set to target a handful of specific GOP lawmakers, including Govs. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Greg Abbott (R-TX), and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR).


“We’re going on the road to take the fight to states where freedom is most under attack, where Republican leaders ban books, criminalize doctors, fire teachers, intimidate librarians, kidnap migrants, target trans kids, stoke racism, condone antisemitism, force the victims of rape and incest to carry their attacker’s baby, where they ignore the will of the people, and they make it harder to vote and easier to buy assault weapons,” Newsom said in an announcement video.

The most recent push to visit outside states could stoke rumors about whether Newsom is eyeing a presidential run in 2024. If the Democratic governor wants to launch a White House bid, he would face an uphill battle as a majority of California voters (70%) say they do not want him to run.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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