Legislators Strike Back at California Ban on State-funded Travel - Articles

All Content

Posted by: Jarod Word on Mar 20, 2018
Tennessee's Senate and House speakers say no state funds will go toward funding lawmakers' attendance of the National Conference of State Legislatures that will take place this summer in Los Angeles, the Times Free Press reports. Officials cite California's ban on state-funded travel to Tennessee that came in response to the state's passage the ‘therapist bill’ in 2016 as the reason for this decision. 
Tennessee Senate Speaker Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, and House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, pointed out in their letter to National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) leaders that a Tennessee legislative resolution passed in 2016 urged Tennessee officials "to ban state-sponsored and state-funded travel within their respective jurisdictions to any state of the Union that has banned state-sponsored travel to Tennessee." "This is not an action we feel any pleasure taking," they wrote but later added, "it is California, not Tennessee, which set this chain of events in motion." 
Tennessee's ban, Senate Joint Resolution 111, was sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, who chairs the Government Operations Committee. Bell said "I had no clue" that McNally and Harwell were going to bar state-funded travel to the NCSL. But he quickly added he's all for it. "I'm glad they've done it," said Bell. "I've already made the personal decision I wasn't going and glad the speakers have decided to not allow at least any of our taxpayer money to go to someone who may want to go to this conference."
California’s travel ban also made headlines this past week when the San Diego State basketball team had to pay out-of-pocket for a trip to Kansas for its NCAA Tournament appearance. Besides Tennessee and Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Dakota were affected by the ban as well.