August 5, 2021

California Announces Publicly Funded Travel No Longer Allowed to Idaho

Idaho – On Monday, California announced that it is prohibiting taxpayer-funded travel to Idaho on account of Idaho’s recently passed anti-transgender laws.

House Minority Leader Representative Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise) expressed her extreme disappointment in the Idaho legislature.

“It was extremely foreseeable that Idaho’s new anti-transgender laws would create a cascading financial disaster for our state.” Rep. Rubel said. “The legislature was not only warned by current and former attorneys-general that these laws were unconstitutional and would cost a fortune to defend, but was further warned by a group of Idaho’s leading employers that passing such openly discriminatory legislation would cause severe damage to the business community. I am proud that every Democratic legislator heeded those warnings and voted against the bills.

Now, our reeling businesses and workers must pay the price for GOP legislators’ reckless actions at a time when we can least afford it. California law does not allow taxpayer dollars to pay for travel to states that discriminate against LGBTQ Americans, and Idaho just landed on this banned travel list because of our new anti-transgender laws. This means that California’s public universities will likely not be able to send athletes, students, or even debate teams to Idaho. Conference and convention planners will be reluctant to choose Idaho for events because California state employees won’t be able to come. Further, this announcement comes on the heels of news that the NCAA is considering blacklisting Idaho because of these laws, potentially costing $15 million in lost business.

Our hospitality industry was already hit brutally by the coronavirus pandemic. The very last thing our hotels and restaurants need right now is this devastating and totally unnecessary blow, dealt by Idaho’s own legislature. As the Governor is now looking at cutting $100 million from our education budget and deep cuts to other critical services, it is beyond infuriating to watch tens of millions of dollars set on fire by a GOP-dominated legislature that seems only to be interested in escalating culture wars.

This crisis was created out of whole cloth by the legislature. There had never been a single reported problem arising from any transgender athlete in the state of Idaho, nor from any transgender person seeking to revise the gender marker on their birth certificate. Now, we face a legal, human rights and financial crisis manufactured by the GOP supermajority. We can’t afford this behavior any longer. Idaho is in a recession and our precious tax dollars must be used for schools, roads and necessary government services.”