April 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Minnesota to keep N.C. travel ban as other states demur
Mark Dayton, Minnesota, Democratic Farmer Labor Party, gay news, Washington Blade

Gov. Mark Dayton will keep the travel ban to N.C. (Photo public domain)

Minnesota has become the first state to announce it will retain its travel ban to North Carolina enacted in protest over anti-LGBT bill House Bill 2 despite the governor signing into law a replacement measure.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the travel ban in April, directing state employees not to travel to North Carolina for nonessential business, after the enactment of HB2 in the state.

Although North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a fellow Democrat, has signed into law a replacement measure he says alleviates the situation, Sam Fettig, a Dayton spokesperson, told the Washington Blade on Wednesday, “No, we are not going to lift the ban.”

Criticized by LGBT rights supporters as a deal that doubles down on discrimination, the agreement between Cooper and Republican leaders in the legislature was reached amid an ongoing economic boycott of state as result of HB2.

The new law, House Bill 142, 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.

Numerous cities that had enacted similar travel bans in protest of HB2 — the District of Columbia, New York City, Oakland, Seattle, San Fransisco, Santa Fe, Salt Lake City and Cincinnati — have declared those bans will remain in place in the aftermath of the deal because of the discriminatory impact of the new law.

But the states haven’t been as forthcoming. At least six — California, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Washington State — had enacted travel bans to North Carolina as a result of HB2.

A spokesperson for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi, stopped short of affirming the ban will remain in place, although he said it remains for the time being.

“Our review of the new North Carolina law is ongoing, and the Governor’s Executive Order ‎currently remains in effect,” Azzopardi said.

In Washington State, the travel ban has actually expired as a result of the new law in North Carolina. The memo that Inslee signed in 2016 states the travel ban would remain in effect “so long as the recently approved HB2 exists in its current form.”

Tara Lee, an Inslee spokesperson, confirmed that as a result of the deal Cooper signed into law “the travel ban no longer applies.”

“However, the governor feels that the changes to their state law are a disappointing half-measure towards the equal protections every person should receive,” Lee said.

In response to a follow-up inquiry on whether Inslee is considering putting a new travel ban in place, Lee replied, “We are considering options.”

California has ban on travel to North Carolina as result of Assembly Bill 1887, a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that allows the attorney general to maintain a list of states with laws rolling back LGBT rights and prohibit state-sponsored travel to those states. An official with Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office said his office is reviewing whether North Carolina no longer warrants inclusion on the travel restriction list after the HB2 deal.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy is also reviewing the new law in North Carolina before making a decision on whether to affirm the travel ban he signed last year, a spokesperson said.

“We don’t have an update, yet,” said Malloy spokesperson Kelly Donnelly. “We are still reviewing the new legislation.”

The offices of Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, didn’t respond to a request for comment on the travel ban former Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, enacted last year.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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