Texas needs to take California seriously

Emma Berdanier

While it may appear that the pure antipathy between Texas and California has reached a breaking point, a need for the two divisive states to work together persists. It’s apparent if only in the one thing that Texans hold sacred — sports. A newly instituted Texas travel ban in California threatens to further pull the two divided states apart, and the Texas legislature needs to take this ban more seriously. Instead of laughing it off and ripping into California, the legislature needs to take a long hard look at the bills they’re passing and consider the true costs attached.

Late last month California Attorney General Xavier Becerra banned state-funded employees from traveling to Texas using state funds. This ban comes in response to a bill passed in the Texas legislature that, according to California, discriminates against LGBT people who wish to adopt. California's policy is clear — they ban state-funded travel to any state with discriminatory laws, and Texas has been added to that list.

But instead of taking this ban seriously and acting accordingly, such as beginning to judge their bills on a sane moral barometer, Texas Republicans have done nothing but mock the ultra-liberal state. It makes sense to take some offense at the ban, but the ban itself is not unfounded. In fact, it’s an appropriate and applause worthy response to states like Texas who think they can pass discriminatory laws without any repercussions.

And this is just the first of many repercussions Texas could face if legislators persist in implementing such awful policies. Things could quickly follow the route of North Carolina, which faced economic strains from its bathroom bill, with the NCAA and the NBA all star game, among others, backing out of the state, costing it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Texas stands to lose just as much, as the California travel ban could potentially leave it without the NCAA and college football playoffs, as coaches wouldn’t be able to travel with their teams. It’s still debated what this ban would impact, but it’s clear its effect would be massive as tourism is Texas’ second largest industry and events like these bring in thousands of tourists from across the nation.

Yet all the Texas legislature has done is mock a very serious issue that could have severe economic consequences for the state. Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, has even suggested a similar ban in Texas imposed upon California, for no other reason than he doesn’t like another state attempting to provide some moral critique to his backward policies.

What the legislature should be doing is reversing their discriminatory policies and actually considering the political and economic consequences of the bills they pass. Being a Republican in the Texas legislature shouldn’t be a competition of who can pass the most close-minded, controversial bill with no care as to its future impact. Instead, the bills that come out of the legislature should reflect what really matters to Texans, not hurt the state economy. California’s doing right by implementing a Texas travel ban, now all that’s left to see is if Texas will do right in response and reverse their homophobic policy.

Berdanier is a philosophy senior from Boulder, Colorado. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @eberdanier.