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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
29 Apr 2023

NextImg:San Francisco Takes Step Toward Rescinding 12X State Travel and Contracts Ban

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 7–4 on April 25 to rescind the 12X State Travel Ban.

The ban is a city administrative code that prohibits city-funded employee travel to 30 listed states and forbids city contracts involving those states. It serves as a boycott of states considered to be restrictive of abortion, voting, or LGBTQ rights.

San Francisco passed the ban in 2016, the year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. Initially, the boycott applied only to states considered to be restrictive of LGBTQ rights. However, the list was expanded to include states that have restrictive abortion laws in 2019, and to states that have restrictive voting laws in 2021.

President of the Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin co-sponsored an appeal against the ban. He stated in a Twitter post that these restrictions are “cumbersome and ineffective, albeit well-intentioned” and that the appeal is “cutting bureaucracy and making government more efficient.”

The pass of the appeal on April 25 was the first read. The Board of Supervisors will vote on May 2 for a second read and then send it to Mayor London Breed for signing into law.

According to the lists of states where the city will not fund travel or do business, compiled by the San Francisco City Administrator, the initial list had seven states: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

The idea was to exert financial pressure on those conservative states. The list of states continued to grow.

The most updated list, issued in 2022, has 30 states, among which 20 have restrictive LGBTQ laws and 10 have strict voting laws or restricted abortion laws. Texas, Florida, and Ohio are on the list.

San Francisco City Administrator Carmen Chu said in a report released in March that in order to keep contracts’ costs down, her department had approved hundreds of exemptions and waivers for $800 million worth of contracts.

The contracts ban means fewer bids for city contracts. The report also concluded that the policy was raising costs and administrative burdens, and ending the boycott might reduce contracts’ costs by about 20 percent annually.

District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said in the Board of Supervisors meeting on April 25: “It creates a level of complexity precisely to administer the kinds of waivers that generated nearly [$1 billion] of contracts with 12X states in one of the years that was looked at in these reports that we requested.”

“So it’s not achieving the goal we want to achieve. It is making our government less efficient,” Mandelman added.

In the same meeting, Supervisor Matt Dorsey said: “I think San Franciscans would be angry if they knew the amount of hoops that have to be jumped through and the added cost to city contracting.”

California has a similar travel ban, but the state is also taking action to end the ban. Last month, State Senate leader Toni Atkins announced legislation that would replace the travel ban with a state-funded advertising campaign in those listed states to promote acceptance and inclusion for the LGBTQ community.