The attorney general of California has denied Mayor Jim Gray’s request that Lexington be excluded from California’s ban on state-funded travel to Kentucky.
In a letter to Gray dated Thursday, Attorney General Xavier Becerra says California law doesn’t provide exemptions for cities. WKYT received a copy of the letter Thursday night.
Becerra announced last week that California was restricting state employees from traveling to Kentucky, Alabama, Texas and South Dakota. The California Department of Justice said Kentucky’s SB 17, which Kentucky lawmakers approved earlier this year, allows student-run organizations in schools to discriminate against classmates.
“California’s law restricts travel to states and does not provide exemptions for any political subdivisions within a state that may not hold the same anti-LGBT views of its state legislature,” Becerra said in the letter to Gray. “If you are able to make progress with leaders in your state to repeal or amend SB 17 so that it no longer falls under the criteria in Government Code section 11139.8, then California would remove Kentucky from the list.”
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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray sent letters to Becerra asking California to exempt Kentucky’s two largest cities from the travel ban. Both men have argued Louisville and Lexington have passed ordinances and have policies that protect the rights of gay and transgender people. The two cities also have the largest convention centers in the state.
Fischer said Louisville has lost two conventions because of the ban.