South Dakota lawmakers are assessing what impact, if any, a travel ban by California state employees will have on the Mt. Rushmore State.  On Thursday, we first told you about California adding South Dakota to its list of restricted state travel.   California’s attorney general says an adoption bill passed by the legislature earlier this year discriminates against same-sex couples. 

South Dakota joins Alabama, Kentucky and Texas on California’s list of restricted state travel.  At issue is the South Dakota law that provides religious protections for agencies that deny adoptions to same-sex couples.  California’s attorney general says that’s discriminatory.  One state lawmaker, who supported the measure, says South Dakota should turn the tables on California, with its own ban.

South Dakota is a popular summer tourist destination, but it’s now off-limits to California state employees.

“Anytime we’re barring people from traveling to the state of South Dakota, that’s not good for us,” Rep. Jamie Smith, (D) Sioux Falls said.

Democratic State Representative Jamie Smith, says lawmakers who voted for the controversial adoption bill brought the California ban on themselves.

“It’s ironic, I feel, that people that would be in a place of wanting to stimulate economic development have done absolutely just the opposite by passing this legislation,” Smith said.

Yet Republican State Senator Jim Stalzer, who supported the adoption bill, says the travel ban is a political ploy that will backfire on California.

“I hope that the next time one of their football teams or basketball teams makes the playoffs in Brookings that they have to forfeit and then USD or SDSU gets an easy victory, it’s almost that ridiculous and silly to do this,” Stalzer said.

Stalzer says South Dakota should respond in-kind and institute its own travel ban against California.

“I am state chairman for one of the legislative groups and I would certainly not recommend that we do go to California for our conventions,” Stalzer said.

Lawmakers from both parties doubt the travel ban will trickle-down to average Californians, who will still receive a warm welcome from South Dakota when they visit this summer.

Governor Dennis Daugaard, who signed the adoption bill into law, emailed us a statement saying: “These government ‘travel bans’ are political statements that have no discernable effect. They are designed to generate publicity.”