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N.Y. Restricts Public-Employee Travel To North Carolina Over LGBT Law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a rally in March in Albany, N.Y.
Mike Groll
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a rally in March in Albany, N.Y.

New York state has joined the cities of Seattle, San Francisco and New York in restricting non-essential public-employee travel to North Carolina. The moves are in response to a newly passed North Carolina law that critics say is discriminatory to the LGBT community.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order bans "all taxpayer-funded trips trip to North Carolina, unless they're essential to public health or law enforcement," NPR's Hansi Lo Wang tells our Newscast unit.

"From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past," Cuomo said in a statement. "As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential travel to the state."

The North Carolina measure was passed last week in a special session by the state's Legislature and then immediately signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. It "blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to grant protections to gay and transgender people," as the Two-Way has reported.

It also bars transgender people from using the single-sex restrooms and changing rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The New York state executive order, which took effect immediately, requires a review of all requests for state-funded or state-sponsored travel to North Carolina, and bars any such travel unless it is necessary for enforcing state law, meeting contractual obligations, or "for the protection of public health, welfare and safety."

Cuomo issued a similar order last year for travel to Indiana in response to a "religious freedom" measure in that state. He later reversed the order when the law was amended.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee announced Friday that he has barred publicly funded city-employee travel to North Carolina "that is not absolutely necessary to public health and safety."

On Monday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray banned "official City of Seattle travel by employees to North Carolina." He threatened to issue new orders against travel to any state that passes similar legislation.

And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Monday that his office had "initiated a non-essential travel ban for North Carolina."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.