California’s ban on state-funded travel to Texas will not prevent local search-and-rescue teams from participating in Hurricane Harvey emergency relief efforts, the Office of Emergency Services said Monday.
California has sent eight search-and-rescue teams to Houston since Friday, including one team from Sacramento Fire Department.
The California National Guard today also is sending teams from its 129th Rescue Wing and a C-130 air tanker from its 146th Airlift Wing.
“The Cal Guard’s commitment to keeping residents safe doesn’t end with California,” said California National Guard Commander Maj. Gen. David Baldwin.
The hurricane is the first emergency drawing California resources to one of the eight states that California public agencies are banned from visiting for work-related assignments.
The Legislature last year voted to block publicly funded travel to states with laws that California leaders view as discriminatory against gay and transgender people. Attorney General Xavier Becerra in June placed Texas on the list after Texas Gov. Greg Abbot signed a law that allows child welfare providers to deny services because of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” a provision that critics interpreted as permitting adoption agencies to deny services to gay families
The California law has an exemption that allows public agencies to send employees to states on the prohibited travel list if the workers are considered essential for public health and safety. The Office of Emergency Services is coordinating California’s response to the hurricane under that exemption, according to its public information office.
Aside from Texas, the other states that are subject to California travel restrictions are Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Dakota.