AUSTIN, Texas (Press release)-
Attorney General Paxton filed an original action against the State of California in the United States Supreme Court, seeking to strike down California’s travel ban for states that uphold First Amendment protections for religious liberty. California added Texas to the ban on state-funded travel after the Texas Legislature implemented a law allowing faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to decline placements that violated their religious beliefs. Texas respects and honors the religious beliefs of its citizens. California lawmakers do not. As a co-author of California’s travel ban admitted, they see religious beliefs as nothing more than “code to discriminate against different people.”
Texas partners with a diverse array of agencies to expand the number of safe and loving homes available to children. California’s opposition to diverse and inclusive options for foster children, along with its decision to utilize commerce as a tool of economic warfare, divide the nation and demonstrate a disregard for the safety and well-being of Texas children.
“California is attempting to punish Texans for respecting the right of conscience for foster care and adoption providers. And as the U.S. Supreme Court said recently in upholding the religious liberty of artist Jack Phillips, disparaging religious beliefs like the California Legislature did here, ‘as merely rhetorical – something insubstantial and even insincere,’ is inappropriate for any entity charged with enacting fair and neutral laws,” said Attorney General Paxton. “The law California opposes does not prevent anyone from contributing to child-welfare; in fact, it allows our state to partner with as many different agencies as possible to expand the number of safe and loving homes available to foster children. Boycotting states based on nothing more than political disagreement breaks down the ability of states to serve as laboratories of democracy while still working together as one nation—the very thing our Constitution intended to prevent.”
ORIGINAL STORY (June 23, 2017) —
AUSTIN, Texas (Nexstar) — Texas’ Attorney General was one of many state leaders to respond to California’s travel ban announced this week.
The ban, issued by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, “will prohibit state-funded and state-sponsored travel to Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas-based on discriminatory legislation enacted in each state,” his office said in a press release.
Becerra cited Texas HB 3859, enacted on June 15. Becerra claimed it “allows foster care agencies to discriminate against children in foster care and potentially disqualify LGBT families from the state’s foster and adoption system.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fired back on Friday, issuing a statement saying in part, “I talk to people almost every day who made the trek from California to Texas, and without fail, they tell me their move is due to either greater job opportunities, much lower-priced housing, an escape from a left-coast political climate, or just a better quality of culture and life.”
Paxton referred to a Texas Relocation Report released in January, that stated the highest number of new Texans came from California (65,546), followed by Florida, Louisiana, New York, and Oklahoma.
“This study is very interesting because it shows that not only are they coming to Texas, but they’re coming to Texas to stay, and they’re coming in droves,” Marc Rylander, Paxton’s Director of Communications said.
“These are great days in the state of Texas,” Rylander said. “We have a thriving economy, we have wonderful, wonderful places to live, greatest people, greatest food, families, football, all the things that make Texas great, and you can come here and enjoy all of that at an affordable rate.”
The study, released by the Texas Association of Realtors, uses data compiled by people in each county, to gather information about the population makeup of the state.
“[California has] a state income tax,” Joe Stewart, former president of the Texas Association of Realtors stated. “We do not have a state income tax, even though our property taxes — many feel are a little higher — it’s a great place to come and move families. The affordability is unbelievable, still, here in Texas.”
“If you look at the last few years, you’ve pretty seen consistently that we continue to grow at a tremendous rate,” added Geoffrey Tahuahua, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at Real Estate Council of Austin.
Other state leaders chimed in on social media.
The ban not only affects state officials on the West Coast, but also, potentially, educators.
Arne Lim, a teacher at a public school in northern California, visited Austin this week for an educator’s conference. He feared future plans to return to Texas for events would face setbacks.
“As a public school teacher, I would need to abide by whatever my district says,” Lim mentioned. “ So yeah, potentially, these conferences, no matter how good they are potentially not going to be allowed. Either that, or we hire the speaker to come to California.”
The four new states join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee, on California’s list.