LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- California's Attorney General is accusing Kentucky of having a new anti-LGBT law. General Xavier Becerra added Kentucky to a list of states in which California tax dollars cannot be used for official travel.
The law in question is Senate Bill 17, which passed this year by wide margins and was signed into law by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
You might be more familiar with SB 17 by a couple of the names used during debate. It was referred to as the "Religious Expressions Bill" or the "Charlie Brown Bill". Lawmakers were inspired to act after a school edited bible references out of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.
Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman was surprised by the news of Becerra's decision to add Kentucky to the ban. Becerra also added Alabama, Texas and South Dakota to the list of states where California tax dollars could not be used for travel.
"This is an incredibly unfortunate, very real, economic consequence of Kentucky passing what is even a vaguely anti-LGBT bill like Senate Bill 17", said Hartman.
The decision drew a sharp response from Governor Matt Bevin's press secretary, Woody Maglinger, who released this statement: “It is fascinating that the very same West Coast liberals who rail against the President's executive order, that protects our nation from foreign terrorists, have now contrived their own travel ban aimed at punishing states who don't fall in lockstep with their far-left political ideology.”
Senate Floor Majority Leader, Republican Damon Thayer, echoed that take and took exception with the suggestion that SB 17 was designed to discriminate against any community.
A cosponsor of the bill, Senator Thayer saw it as a fight to protect religious expression for students. Thayer called the 31 to 3 victory in the Senate and 81-8 passage in the House a signal of broad support for the issue in Kentucky.
"I'm not too concerned with what some liberal, left coast, California liberal says about Kentucky and a bill that was passed with only a handful of ‘no’ votes in the Kentucky General Assembly”, said Senator Thayer.
Fairness Campaign director Hartman was clearly against the bill before it passed. He feels it now should be seen as a wakeup call for Kentucky lawmakers.
“I don't know if it's an overreaction per se, but I will say that Senate Bill 17 is just about the lowest threshold you can go in terms of a bill that might have LGBT consequences”, said Hartman. “So what this is is a real cautionary tale for the state to beware of passing anything that is more egregiously anti LGBT than just this bill."