California's ban on state-funded travel grew to include a ninth state on Friday with Attorney General Xavier Becerra announcing new restrictions on public employees attending work-related events in Oklahoma.
Since 2017, California has forbidden state employees from traveling to states with laws that California leaders perceive to be discriminatory against gay and transgender people.
Becerra in a news release said he added restrictions on Oklahoma because the Southern state adopted a law that could allow adoption services agencies to refuse to work with gay and transgender people.
Oklahoma joins Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas on the list of states where California public employees cannot travel for work-related purposes unless they are required to by a court, to investigate a crime, investigate a tax dispute or comply with a grant.
A 2016 law by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, gave Becerra's office authority to restrict travel to states with laws that California leaders consider to be discriminatory. Low characterized his law as a response to measures in conservative states that allowed private groups to deny services to gay and transgender people.
"California will not use state resources to support states that pass discriminatory laws. The law enacted in Oklahoma allows discrimination against LGBTQ children and aspiring LGBTQ parents who must navigate the adoption process. California taxpayers are taking a stand against bigotry and in support of those who would be harmed by this prejudiced policy," Becerra said in his news release.
The law prohibits the California State University and University of California systems from sending staff members or students to states on the banned list. The public university systems continue to send their athletic teams to those states for post-season events, such as the NCAA basketball tournament or college football bowl games.
Assemblyman Matt Harper, R-Huntington Beach, has asked Becerra's department to issue a formal opinion on whether Low's law applies to college sports. The department assigned an attorney to the question, but has not released a report.
UCLA's football team is scheduled to play at the University of Oklahoma on Sept. 8.