LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Less than a week after California instituted a ban on state-funded travel to Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer and local business leaders are pleading with the Attorney General from the Golden State to reconsider.
Despite announcing $1-billion worth of investment in the past week Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the city is already feeling the effects.
However at the same time that Fischer is asking the California Attorney General for a waiver Governor Matt Bevin says this ban will actually benefit the Bluegrass state in the long run.
“Let’s be clear,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D). “I am very concerned about the effect of this travel ban, and citizens should be concerned too.”
While the merits of the California travel ban on state-funded travel to Kentucky continue to be debated it’s clear that there are two schools of thought.
“It was a ridiculous rule,” said Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R). “He’s already having to walk it back. I think it will be about as effective as nothing.”
California Attorney General Xavier Bacerra cited what he called anti-LGBT language in SB17 as the reason for his ban, but members of the Fairness Campaign and local business leaders say that’s not exactly the case.
“This is not an anti-transgender bathroom bill,” said Chris Hartman, Director of the Fairness Campaign. “This is not a license to discriminate that removes the fairness ordinances in the eight Kentucky cities where we have them. This is about the lowest threshold of things that would negatively impact a population of folks.”
“Ironically California’s travel ban to Kentucky negatively impacts one of the most LGBTQ destinations in the American south,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom of Greater Louisville Incorporated.
Karen Williams of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau says the decision has cost the city at least $2 million after two conventions, one in 2018 and another in 2020, decided to take their business elsewhere.
“It wasn’t about their attendees from California,” said Williams. “It was just a perception that they didn’t want for their attendees for this meeting is why they pulled out of Louisville.”
“Convention planners might simply accept the ban as evidence that our city practices discrimination and move on, and there couldn’t be anything further from the truth,” said Mayor Fischer. “Folks, perception is reality.”
Which is why Mayor Fischer is hoping a waiver will clear the air surrounding the ban.
“California’s interpretation of the bill needs to be understood and discussed with our legislative leaders to address any unintended consequences,” said Mayor Fischer.
Gov. Bevin maintains the ongoing ordeal is nothing more than a political stunt.
“While the Attorney General of California is attempting to limit business travel here I will be doing lots of business travel in California recruiting businesses to come to Kentucky,” said Gov. Bevin. “They are coming in spades.”
Both Mayor Fischer and Attorney General Andy Beshear have been in contact with the California Attorney General in an attempt to get him to reconsider his decision.
Governor Matt Bevin said in his opinion there is no chance Senate Bill 17 will be repealed.