San Francisco has decided to repeal a ban on city-funded travel to 30 states that restricts abortion, voting, and LGBTQ rights.
The decision came after the city determined that the boycott was doing more harm than good. California is now also considering the repeal of a similar law.
The progressive city passed the boycott in 2016 after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
The boycott applied only to states that it considered restricted the rights of LGBTQ people at first, but later, the list was expanded to include states that limit access to voting and abortion. The idea was to exert economic pressure on those conservative states.
Policy has been ‘raising costs and administrative burdens’
However, a report released last month by the city administrator concluded that the policy was raising costs and administrative burdens for the city. The report further stated that there were fewer bidders for city work due to restrictions and that ending the boycott might reduce contracting costs by 20% annually.
In addition, the city had approved hundreds of exemptions and waivers for some $800 million worth of contracts.
“No states with restrictive LGBTQ rights, voting rights, or abortion policies have cited the city’s travel and contract bans as motivation for reforming their law,” the review concluded.
Board President Aaron Peskin, who co-sponsored the repeal, said, “The measure was a well-intentioned effort at values-based contracting but ultimately did not accomplish the social change it sought to effect.”
“Instead, this onerous restriction has led to an uncompetitive bidding climate and created serious obstructions to everything from accessing emergency housing to being able to cost-effectively purchase the best products and contracts for the City.”
Ban had not produced ‘the intended results’
Scott Wiener, a former supervisor-turned-state senator who authored the original ban, agreed that the measure hadn’t produced the intended results.
“We believed a coalition of cities and states would form to create true consequences for states that pass these despicable, hateful laws.”
“Yet, as it turned out, that coalition never formed, and the full potential impact of this policy never materialized. Instead, San Francisco is now penalizing businesses in other states — including LGBTQ-owned, women-owned, and people of color-owned businesses — for the sins of their radical right-wing governments.”
In addition, city staff have been unable to fly to many states for cooperative work on issues ranging from HIV prevention to transportation.
The city’s supervisors will hold a second and final vote next Tuesday, after which Mayor London Breed is expected to sign the measure.
California considering repealing its own ban
Meanwhile, California is considering repealing its own 2016 ban on state travel to states it deems discriminate against LGBTQ people.
The state currently bans state-funded travel to nearly half of the country following a surge of anti-LGBTQ legislation in mostly Republican-led states.
This prohibition has complicated some of the state’s other policy goals, like using state money to pay for people who live in other states to travel to California for abortions.
State Senate leader Toni Atkins recently announced legislation that would end the ban and replace it with an advertising campaign in those states that promotes acceptance and inclusion for the LGBTQ community.
The bill would set up a fund to pay for the campaign, which would accept private donations and state funding — if any is available.
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