Over the weekend Hillary Clinton, the first runner-up in the latest presidential election, tweeted, “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this (health) bill, they're the death party.” It was also being seriously debated if the psychotic action of the gunman who shot Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise was due to the repugnant rhetoric being increasingly spewed by other liberals. Great goodness, it seems to be more outlandish by the day.
The Daily Caller website offered that the Scalise tragedy was “just the latest in an escalating pattern of violence and intimidation against Republicans,” and noted that conservative politicians were being targeted as victims of “an increasingly hostile political climate where left-wingers portrayed them as ‘fascists.’”
Kathy Griffin, the comedian who held up a bloody model of Donald Trump’s head to her later shame, is the queen of disturbing liberal rhetoric but – my gracious -- this vitriol has taken an even greater scope. Now the California legislature wants to brawl against other states in this America we love.
California, long labeled “The Left Coast,” just added four more of our United States to an unfathomable hate list, imposing a moralistic “travel ban” on Texas, Alabama, South Dakota and Kentucky. That brings the number of states that California dislikes enough to purposely inflict economic pain to eight, this in just the last six months. Earlier this year Tennessee, Kansas, Mississippi and North Carolina were announced in the inaugural “off limits” assault.
Here’s the deal: California state law AB 1887 – which went into effect Jan. 1, 2017 -- staunchly prohibits state-funded and state-sponsored travel to states that authorize and require discrimination based on sexual gender, gender identity, gender expression or same-sex couples. Any state agency, departments, board, authorities and commissions associated with the University of California system, its regents, or California State University (system) are banned from the thus-far eight states now on the list. Individual travel is still permitted by California residents but not on the taxpayer’s dime.
The California Assembly passed the law 56-21 and the state Senate passed it 26-12. This was hardly on a whim.
Xavier Becerra, the Attorney General for California, decides what states are to be placed in what is laughingly called “the no-fly zone.” His stance? “Our country has made great strides in dismantling prejudicial laws that have deprived too many of our fellow Americans of their precious rights,” he said. “Sadly, that is not the case in parts of our nation, even in the 21st century.”
Yet California with its ban is, in fact, the most prejudiced of all the states in the Union.
This is as hysterical as it is ridiculous. Why alienate other states? And, at what price? For example, Fresno State’s football team is scheduled to play at Alabama this fall in a huge “money” game so the law was hurriedly altered to say all contractual agreements signed prior to Jan. 1, 2017, would be honored. There is a big conference in Dallas this week where California lawmakers are attending, loudly decreeing the trip is “personally financed.” Do you believe that from a politician? Really?
Tennessee was blacklisted early because of a law that allows a state-licensed therapist to deny treatment to members of the LGBT community based on the therapist’s individual beliefs. Kentucky was hit because its “Charlie Brown law” prevents school officials from punishing children from demonstrating their religious or political beliefs in homework, artwork, and speeches. (It’s called the Charlie Brown Law after some misguided school teacher cut a Bible verse from the script in the elementary school play, “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.”)
Texas, Alabama and South Dakota got hit with the ban for passing laws that allow adoption agencies to follow faith-based policies, including the option of not placing children with same sex couples. North Carolina made the hate list for its bathroom policies. Kansas was faulted for allowing college religious groups to require that those who wish to join said group must adhere to the group’s beliefs.
Trust me, California is being scoffed and scorned in a scathing response, most especially by the eight states that have been chosen by the state district attorney to be banned.
John Whitman, press secretary for Texas Governor Greg Abbott, said, "California may be able to stop their state employees, but they can't stop all the businesses that are fleeing over taxation and regulation and relocating to Texas.”
And, a spokesman for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin also criticized California officials. “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,” said Woody Maglinger.
Shortly after the California ban, the Tennessee legislature passed a Resolution (SJR0111) that decreed to its California counterparts they mind their own business and that the Volunteer State had little time for any “unfounded moral judgement.” Todd Gardenhire, Mike Carter, Patsy Hazlewood and Gerald McCormick were among those who voted for the resolution, while Bo Watson refused to be party to it, voting “present.”
It was signed by Governor Bill Haslam last month and copies were immediately sent to every other state legislator in the entire United States. Here's the text of the resolution:
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"Whereas, California has passed legislation banning state sponsored travel to Tennessee and certain other states; and
Whereas, the ban stems from legislation enacted by Tennessee that allows counselors to refer patients to other counselors who can better meet their goals, which the California State Legislature has judged to be morally reprehensible; and
Whereas, California's attempt to influence public policy in our state is akin to Tennessee expressing its disapproval of California's exorbitant taxes, spiraling budget deficits, runaway social welfare programs, and rampant illegal immigration; and
Whereas, Tennessee is pleasantly surprised that California will not be sending its economic development teams to Tennessee to recruit our businesses, but we can still send our teams to recruit their businesses; and
Whereas, Tennessee is puzzled why California thinks it is a good idea to prohibit its state colleges and universities from participating in athletic competition in Tennessee (March Madness comes to Memphis this year via the South Regional), Kansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina; and
Whereas, this type of ban, the result of legitimate disagreements about government policy, is neither persuasive nor productive for either party and will lead to economic warfare among states, as one sovereign entity attempts to tell an equally sovereign entity how to conduct its affairs by restricting travel thereto; and
Whereas, the United States Constitution provides for a strong federal government for the common defense, but the Tenth Amendment grants the several states sovereignty in addressing issues solely within their jurisdiction, and all states should respect this most basic precept of American government; and
Whereas, if states such as California persist in banning travel to Tennessee as a punitive action for this body conducting its constitutionally mandated duties as its members see fit, our state leaders should consider strong reciprocal action in banning state sponsored travel to those misguided states; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE ONE HUNDRED TENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING, that we urge and encourage the Governor, the Speaker of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to ban state -sponsored and state funded travel within their respective jurisdictions to any state of the Union that has banned state-sponsored travel to Tennessee in a selective way, so that the other states feel the pain and not Tennessee
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the other forty-eight states to refrain from imposing their unfounded moral judgment on their sister states as California has done in order to prevent escalating foolishness
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, and the American Legislative Exchange Council and that a certified copy of this resolution be sent electronically to each member of each state legislative body in the nation, so they may also consider taking action against this type of blackmail."
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As a very wise man once said, “Don’t hide your flaws while looking for mine.”