California bans state-paid travel to Tennessee

A California law that took effect this month bans state-paid travel to Tennessee and three other states deemed to have enacted laws that allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. Tennessee state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, tells the Times-Free Press that he’s astonished by the move and suggests that maybe Tennessee should retaliate.

“That’s state law? Really?” asked Bell, who is chairman of the Senate Government Operations Committee. “If states want to get in a shooting match over what they find ‘morally reprehensible’ about another state, maybe we should find something we don’t like about California and pass a similar [travel ban] law here. Maybe there’s something out there. Maybe I need to look for something.”

Here’s an excerpt from the Huffington Post report on California’s law:

California has banned state-funded travel for employees to four states that have enshrined anti-LGBTQ legislation in their law books since June 29, 2015.

The ban stems from Assembly Bill 1887 and affects state-sanctioned travel to North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kansas.

“California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” the bill reads.

Assembly Bill 1887 was signed into law in Sept. 2016 and went into effect with the turn of the new year on Jan. 1, 2017.

It serves as a response to bills like North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ HB2, which bans many trans people from using the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

Further from the TFP story:

Tennessee lawmakers passed and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law last year a statute that supercedes the American Counseling Association’s professional code of ethics, which required state-licensed counselors and therapists to treat members of the LGBT community regardless of the provider’s personal beliefs.

The Volunteer State’s law now allows counselors and therapists to reject clients whose goals are at odds with the professionals’ “sincerely held beliefs.”

… Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, who sponsored Tennessee’s controversial counselor law, has introduced a new bill that follows up on it.

It would bar the state Board for Professional Counselors, Marital and Family Therapists, and Clinical Pastoral Therapists from adopting “any rule that incorporates by reference a national association’s code of ethics, including, but not limited to, the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics.”

Such codes should be developed at the state level, he argues. But his proposal is already getting pushback.

“This would negatively impact counselors in our state,” Lisa Henderson, president-elect of the Tennessee Counseling Association, told the Nashville Scene. “I feel that it’s a slippery slope — I feel that once you start picking and choosing which regulations you follow, it starts to get troublesome.”

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