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March 20, 2017 06:00 PM

San Francisco Bars City Employees From Traveling To South Dakota

City employees in one of the United States' largest cities are being barred from traveling to South Dakota for business. Recently, San Francisco added South Dakota to its travel ban for employees after South Dakota lawmakers passed a bill the city considers discriminatory.

Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 149 into law last week. Supporters say it protects faith-based or religious child-placement agencies. Opponents say it allows some adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples. San Francisco, meanwhile, already has an ordinance on the books forbidding travel to states that have what it calls anti-LGBT laws. It was put into effect last month, and it targets any state that it says has discriminated against the LGBT community since June 26th of 2015.

"So per the South Dakota bill that was signed by the governor, we found that the description within their bill fell under this definition," spokesperson for the San Francisco City Administrator Jack Gallagher said.  

San Francisco many not be alone. A 2015 California State law also says, "California must take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people." The law applies to the University of California and California State employees as well.

As for travel to South Dakota? The California Attorney General's office hasn't responded to KELOLAND News yet to talk about whether the policy is being reviewed.

Gallagher says San Francisco's ordinance is different from the state law because it also deals with contracts with state businesses. He says if a state is placed on the list, without certain exemptions, the city won't initiate any new contracts with South Dakota businesses. 

"I couldn't give an answer on if some of these contracts are extremely large or if some of them are very small, but I know we have a few contracts with companies within the State of South Dakota," Gallagher said. 

Gallagher says there would be two ways South Dakota could be taken off the list: Either with a judge's order that the city ordinance is unconstitutional or if the state on the list repeals its offending law.

South Dakota is now the fifth state on the no travel list for San Francisco. The other four states on the list are Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. 

KELOLAND News reached out to Governor Dennis Daugaard's office for comment on the travel ban. We were told he wasn't available for interview, but a spokesperson told us, "Neither the state nor any agency with a state contract discriminates in adoptions or foster care."
  • South Dakota
  • Politics
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  • Sioux Falls, SD


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