Washington State reinstitutes N.C. travel ban after HB2 deal

By : Chris Johnson of the Washingston Blade, Courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Washington State has reinstated its ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina — first enacted over anti-LGBT House Bill 2 — in the aftermath of the imposition of a new replacement law civil rights groups say is still discriminatory.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a memo on Thursday putting in place a new ban on state-funded travel to North Carolina after his previous ban expired when North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, signed the new measure.

In the memo, Inslee says, like HB2, the new law, labeled House Bill 142, “contains similar troubling, discriminatory provisions and Washingtonians traveling to North Carolina on work-related matters may still experience discrimination.”

“And though North Carolina formally replaced HB2, the continued allowance of discrimination is inherent in the spirit [of] HB142,” Inslee continues. “Consequently, I again order that no executive or small-cabinet agency shall allow publicly funded non-essential travel to North Carolina.”

The new law prohibits prohibits municipalities, state agencies and the University of North Carolina from the “regulation of access” to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the legislature’s permission. It also bans municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination measures that would apply to private employment or public accommodations until 2020.

Much to the consternation of LGBT rights supporters, Cooper, a Democrat, the law after closed-door negotiations with Republican leaders of the state legislature. Their agreement was intended to alleviate economic boycott to the state as a result of HB2 in time for a deadline set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to either repeal the law or lose championship games for years to come. The NCAA later announced the new law was “minimally” acceptable to again consider championships in North Carolina.

Washington is the third state to declare its travel ban enacted over HB2 will remain in place in the aftermath of Cooper signing the replacement law. Other states that have similarly reaffirmed their bans are California and Minnesota.

Unlike California and Minnesota, Inslee’s earlier ban expired before he reinstated it because the first measure had language keeping it in place “so long as the recently approved HB2 exists in its current form,” which wasn’t the case after Cooper signed the replacement deal.

The remaining states that enacted travel bans over HB2 — Vermont, Connecticut and New York — haven’t yet declared the status of those policies with the new North Carolina law in place.

Municipalities that have declared they’ll keep their travel bans to North Carolina in place are Chicago; New York City; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Los Angeles; Oakland; Santa Fe; Cincinnati; Salt Lake City; Palm Springs, Calif.; West Palm Beach; Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vt; and Wilton Manors, Fla.

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