GOP resolution grumbles about California’s TN travel ban

News release from Senate Republican Caucus

(NASHVILLE), February 13, 2017 – State Senator Mike Bell (R-Cleveland), Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) and Representative Tilman Goins (R-Morristown) have introduced a resolution (SJR111) in the Tennessee General Assembly pointing out the absurdity of California’s ban of state-funded and state-sponsored travel based on policy differences with Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi and Kansas. At a press conference today the lawmakers said the ban is a dangerous precedent that could lead to reciprocal action.

The lawmakers also called upon national legislative conferences to assist in curtailing similar travel bans between states.

“Travel bans based on policy differences can lead to economic warfare and are counterproductive to the common objectives that we all have as states,” said Senator Bell. “Tennesseans don’t agree with California coddling illegal alien criminals in sanctuary cities or with their out-of-control budget deficits, but we have not banned state-funded travel to that state. The U.S. Constitution grants sovereignty to states in addressing issues within their jurisdiction which is the most basic precept of our government.”

As a result of the passage of Assembly Bill 1887 last summer, the State of California’s Department of Justice issued travel ban based on Tennessee’s passage of Public Chapter 926<>. That law protected the rights of counselors to refer a client to another therapist when the goals, outcomes or behaviors for which they are seeking counseling are a violation of his or her sincerely held beliefs. The new law does not apply if the individual seeking or undergoing counseling is in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.

California’s ban applies to their state agencies, departments, boards, authorities, and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority, or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California, and the California State University.

“It appears this travel ban would prohibit California’s state colleges and universities from participating in an athletic competition in Tennessee if they are fortunate enough to advance to that level,” added Representative Dunn. “The March Madness basketball tournament comes to Memphis this year via the South Regional. It is ridiculous to keep students from competing based on politics. The same would apply if it was our students going to California if we implemented such a ban. Students should not be subject to political blackmail by one state to another to drive their own political agenda.

Representative Goins said, “It may be one issue today, but another tomorrow and another and so on. It is a slippery slope in which California is embarking. We urge other states to refrain from imposing their judgment on their sister states, as California has done with Tennessee, North Carolina, Kansas and Mississippi, to prevent this escalating foolishness. We are the United States, not the divided states. We need to continue to have productive dialogue with one another to work on solutions common to us all.”

Note: See also the Times-Free Press report, wherein Bell explains why the legislators decided just do a resolution rather than a bill responding with a ban on California travel. Excerpt:

“I think a wiser approach is to do a resolution and not a bill,” Bell said, “because this issue is much, much bigger than states just disagreeing on a particular law another state’s passed. I really think what California has done is fire the first shot of what could be an economic civil war between the states.”

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