FAQ on California Scientists Traveling to #PlantBio2023 in Georgia
If you are funded or employed by the state of California, you have likely heard about Assembly Bill 1887 (AB 1887) and its impact on using state funds to pay for travel to 23 other states.
Georgia, chosen as the site of Plant Biology 2023 in 2021, was added to the list of affected states on August 19, 2022.
You can still attend Plant Biology 2023 as a California scientist. Find out more below.
Q: What is AB 1887?
A: This California bill bans most state-funded travel to Georgia (and several other states) due to discriminatory laws against LGBTQ+ people.
Georgia was the 23rd state added to the list, based on its passage of a law allowing prohibitions on transgender girls competing in girls’ interscholastic sports.
Q: What is the timing and reason for this ban?
A: California initiated the ban in reaction to the 2016 North Carolina “Bathroom Bill” preventing transgender people from using the bathroom of their gender identity,
AB 1887 went into effect on January 1, 2017. California, a state with comparably robust nondiscrimination laws, enacted the ban to promote equality nationwide and “take action to avoid supporting or financing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Q: How long will the state travel prohibition be in effect?
A: As of now, the prohibition will continue if states have laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
There are discussions about shifting strategies and replacing the ban with an advertising campaign, although nothing has been decided yet. The California Attorney General’s office continuously reviews policies to determine if states are eligible to be removed from the ban list.
Q: Does AB 1887 affect my travel and funding to Plant Biology 2023?
A: Most likely not. AB 1887 does not affect travel paid for or reimbursed using non-state funds.
The ban would affect your Plant Biology 2023 plans only if California taxpayers were paying your bill, so it most likely will not affect you. However, please check with your institution or funding agency for guidance based on your specific situation.
Q: Does AB 1887 prevent me from attending Plant Biology 2023?
A: No. AB 1887 contains significant exceptions.
Those most relevant to prospective Plant Biology 2023 attendees are “to participate in meetings or training required by a grant or required to maintain grant funding” and “to meet contractual obligations incurred before January 1, 2017,” although there are others. Many institutions have created travel request forms to process exceptions; check with yours for instructions.
The Plant Biology community strongly supports fairness, equality and working toward a world without discrimination. We look forward to welcoming all who share this vision to Savannah in August.
Sign up for Plant Biology 2023 updates here.