GOP Senate Bill Would Cut Health Care Coverage By 22 Million Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Congressional forecasters say a Senate bill that aims to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026.

That’s only slightly fewer uninsured than a version passed by the House in May.

Monday’s report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office could give moderate senators concerned about health care coverage pause. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wants a vote on the bill this week, before senators head home for the July Fourth recess. With Senate Democrats united in opposition, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes on their side and still pass the bill.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, who is up for re-election next year, has already expressed reservations about the number of people who could lose coverage under the GOP bill. Four other Republican senators have complained that the bill doesn’t go far enough in rolling back the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The Senate bill would cut hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes over the coming decade, with most of the savings going to those at the top of the income ladder. At the same time, it would phase out the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, while offering less generous subsidies to those who purchase health insurance on the individual market. That combination is expected to reduce the number of people with insurance coverage by 22 million by 2026: Fifteen million fewer on Medicaid and 7 million fewer in the individual market.

Over time, the bill would also make deep cuts to traditional Medicaid, the safety net program for the poor and people with disabilities. The program, which dates to the Great Society of the 1960s, covers nearly 1 in 5 Americans — more than Medicare, the better-known program for the elderly.

For the first time, the Senate bill would cap federal spending on Medicaid in 2020, forcing state governments to either scale back the program or make up the difference out of their own budgets. The Senate bill also assumes that after 2025, medical bills will grow more slowly than they have historically. If that assumption is wrong, states would face an even bigger budget gap that would grow with each passing year.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon worries the CBO report doesn’t fully reflect those long-term effects, since congressional forecasters typically focus on a 10-year budget window. Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, wote a letter to CBO Director Keith Hall, asking him to assess how the Senate bill would affect Medicaid coverage 20 or 30 years into the future.

“It is critical that Senators completely understand legislation and its impact prior to casting a vote,” Wyden wrote.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LouisvilleKY asks to not be included in California travel ban Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Louisville, Ky., – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has sent an open letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to exempt Louisville from a travel ban to Kentucky. The California ban of state-funded travel was issued to several states last week, citing laws Becerra says are discriminatory against the LGBT community.

Here is the letter Mayor Fischer sent to Becerra:

 

 

mayor letter

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Forbes names LouisvilleKY No. 1 city for manufacturing Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Story from Louisvilleky.gov

Louisville, KY., –  Citing a resurgence in the auto industry, Forbes magazine has named Louisville as the No. 1 city in the U.S. where manufacturing is thriving. Since 2011, manufacturing employment in the Louisville-area has grown 30.2 percent, bringing the employment total to 83,300 jobs, representing 12.41 percent of jobs in the local economy.

“Louisville continues to lead the way with our long-standing tradition of excellence in manufacturing. And that tradition provides the foundation necessary to be a global leader as we shift into a new era of flexible, advanced manufacturing,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This No. 1 ranking is an affirmation of the strength, quality and dedication of Louisville’s outstanding manufacturing workforce.”

Louisville’s diverse manufacturing economy includes such major manufacturers as Ford, GE Appliances, Clariant Corporation, Faurecia and Raytheon. Louisville also is home to FirstBuild, an innovative makerspace dedicated to designing, engineering, building and selling the next generation of home appliances.

KYFAME

To ensure that Louisville remains competitive in the manufacturing sector, the city is partnering with the Kentucky Manufacturing Career Center (KMCC) and the Kentucky Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) to create a pipeline of highly skilled employees who provide employers with the workforce they need.

KMCC and KY FAME offer workforce development programs to participants at no cost. KY FAME has a 98 percent job placement rate for graduates and has more than 125 member companies, while KMCC has awarded more than 3,000 certificates and credentials, and recently celebrated its 1,000 job placement.

Kentuckiana Works

To learn more about manufacturing workforce development programs, visit http://kcc.kentuckianaworks.org/JobSeekers/KMCC.aspx or http://kyfame.com/about/

Building on Louisville’s economic momentum, Ford Motor Company last week announced a $900 million investment in its Kentucky Truck Plant to build the all-new Expedition and Navigator.

“To be globally competitive in manufacturing, you have to have strong partners willing to collaborate with you and shape a common vision. We are proud to have Louisville as our partner, and congratulate them on being named No.1,” said Curt Magleby, Vice President, U.S. Government Relations, Ford Motor Company.

Ford’s new investment is in addition to the $1.3 billion investment and 2,000 jobs created at the plant in late 2015. According to Census figures, the auto industry alone accounts for 27,000 jobs in the Louisville area.

Louisville continues to be a place where locally grown manufacturers can establish themselves as global competitors. Louisville Plate Glass, founded in 1911, exemplifies the potential for long-term success in Louisville. The company recently opened a new $4 million production facility, more than doubling the company’s employment with 65 new jobs.

“After more than 100 years of continued operations, we chose to reinvest in Louisville with a new state-of-the-art glass production facility that will further strengthen our position as a leader in our market,” said Bill Stone, President, Louisville Plate Glass. “We feel confident that Louisville, with its central location and high quality of life, is the best place to invest in our employees and in our new production lines.”

The Forbes ranking is based on employment in the manufacturing sector over time, short-, medium- and long-term trends dating to 2005, plus variables that measure persistence and momentum.

To read the full article, visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2017/06/12/where-manufacturing-is-thriving-in-the-u-s/#5ab452ab1ff7

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Fischer To California AG: Exempt Louisville From Travel Ban Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has asked for his city to be exempted from California’s recently announced ban on state-funded travel to Kentucky.

The travel ban was announced last week by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who accused Kentucky of passing a law that steps on the rights of LGBTQ citizens.

In his letter, Fischer asked Becerra to consider exempting some cities from the restrictions.

“It is my belief that cities like ours should be rewarded for inclusive behavior, not penalized; a waiver would highlight our inclusivity and encourage other cities to follow accordingly,” Fischer said in his letter.

“Louisville is inclusive and open to all. We model our city on those values. Additionally, to be a city that grows jobs and economic competitiveness, the global economy demands communities that are welcoming and compassionate.”

Mayor Fischer’s letter to California AG

Earlier this year, Gov. Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 17 into law, which supporters say bolsters First Amendment protections for religious speech in public schools and universities.

Opponents, including the ACLU of Kentucky and Fairness Campaign, have criticized the new law for language that bars school officials from interfering with how religious and political student groups select their members.

In the wake of the California attorney general’s announcement last week, a spokesman for Bevin compared the action to federal courts that blocked President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions for people from some Middle Eastern and African countries.

“It is fascinating that the very same West Coast liberals who rail against the President’s executive order, that protects our nation from foreign terrorists, have now contrived their own travel ban aimed at punishing states who don’t fall in lockstep with their far-left political ideology,” said Woody Maglinger, Bevin’s press secretary.

The governor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment to Fischer’s appeal for a reprieve from California’s travel ban.

Texas, North Dakota and Alabama were also included in the sanctions, citing the recent passage of laws that restrict adoption of children by LGBTQ couples.

Kentucky’s new law — which takes effect on June 29 — was filed in response to a 2015 controversy that arose in Johnson County over a school production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

School officials altered the script of the play to remove religious references, leading London Republican Sen. Albert Robinson to sponsor the legislation that he said brings resolution to the issue.

Robinson defended the legislation in an interview last week. He said there’s nothing in the bill that “requires or even permits any discrimination of anybody anywhere whatsoever.”

Senate Republicans Alter Health Care Bill To Avoid So-Called ‘Death Spiral’ Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Senate Republicans have updated their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, attempting to patch a hole that threatened to destabilize the individual insurance market.

The original Senate bill, unveiled last week, required insurance companies to offer coverage to everyone, including people with pre-existing medical conditions. But there was no requirement that individuals purchase insurance. Critics said that created a perverse incentive for healthy people to go without insurance, only buying coverage after they got sick. Without enough healthy customers making regular premium payments, insurance companies would be forced to raise prices, driving more customers away — a situation sometimes described as a “death spiral.”

The revised bill attempts to solve that problem by imposing a penalty on those who don’t maintain continuous insurance coverage: People who let their coverage lapse for at least 63 days in one year would be locked out of the insurance market for six months the following year.

The change comes as congressional forecasters are trying to predict how the Senate bill would affect insurance costs and coverage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its analysis of the bill early this week.

It’s not clear whether the threat of a six-month waiting period would be enough to keep healthy customers in the insurance market. The Affordable Care Act already includes a limited enrollment window when people can sign up for coverage, along with a tax penalty for those who don’t. Even with those provisions, many insurance companies have struggled to attract a good mix of healthy and less healthy customers.

The bill passed by House Republicans relies on a different mechanism to encourage healthy people to buy coverage. Those who don’t would have to pay a premium when they finally did sign up.

Senate GOP Health Care Bill Discussion Draft 

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parts Of Trump’s Travel Ban Are Revived As Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case Monday, Jun 26 2017 

The Supreme Court says it will decide the fate of President Trump’s travel ban, agreeing to hear arguments over immigration cases that were filed in federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland.

“We grant the petitions for certiorari and grant the stay applications in part,” the court said Monday. The court’s clerk will set a date for the cases — which will be consolidated — to be heard in the session that begins in October.

“Both petitions for certiorari and both stay applications are accordingly ripe for consideration,” the court said on Monday.

Travel Ban 16 1436 l6hc


The case centers on the president’s revised executive order — which blocks new visas for travelers from six majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, and suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days.

That order was put on hold by lower court judges in Hawaii and Maryland hours before it was set to take effect in March. Two federal appeals courts left those nationwide injunctions in place, setting up one final appeal for the Trump administration.

The White House argues that this executive order, like the previous version the president signed in January, is necessary to protect national security. The initial version caused chaos at airports across the country until it was blocked by a federal judge in Washington state, prompting the administration to craft a revised version that omitted references to religion and specifically exempted green card holders. But that order, too, was challenged by lawsuits, and it was blocked by lower courts before it ever went into effect.

As part of its instructions to the parties in the case, the high court said today that they should answer the question of “Whether the challenges … became moot on June 14, 2017” — referring to the order’s original timeframe of 90 days.

Both of the federal appeals courts that have considered the revised executive order have ruled against the administration — but for different reasons.

The appellate judges weren’t directly ruling on the merits of the travel ban itself. But in order to decide if the lower court injunctions were appropriate, they had to weigh the probable impact of the order and the likelihood that the legal challenges would succeed.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals looked extensively at whether the travel ban violated the Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion. The challengers in that case, led by the nonprofit International Refugee Assistance Project, argued that the travel ban is a thinly veiled attempt to block Muslims from entering the country, something Trump and his advisers talked about during and after the presidential campaign.

Lawyers for the Department of Justice countered that courts should look only at the language of the executive order itself, which does not mention religion explicitly. But that argument did not prevail. Writing for the 10-3 majority, Chief Judge Roger Gregory said the executive order “speaks with vague words of national security but in context drips with religious intolerance.”

The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals focused on federal law. The court found that the president likely exceeded his statutory authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“The order does not offer a sufficient justification to suspend the entry of more than 180 million people on the basis of nationality,” the 9th Circuit judges wrote. “National security is not a ‘talismanic incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any and all exercise of executive power.”

The Trump administration moved quickly to appeal both rulings to the Supreme Court.

“The Executive Branch is entrusted with the responsibility to keep the country safe under Article II of the Constitution,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement after the 9th Circuit ruling. Sessions called the threat of terrorism “immediate and real,” and said the lower court’s injunction “has a chilling effect on security operations overall.”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Louisville Lawmakers Will Look To Big-Ticket Items After Summer Break Monday, Jun 26 2017 

The Louisville Metro Council is on summer break.

The 26-member legislative body takes its two-week recess each year after passage of the city’s annual spending plan, which it unanimously approved Thursday evening.

Council meetings and committee sessions will resume during the second week of July. And when members return to City Hall, a list of attention-grabbing proposals awaits.

Sexual Harassment Policy

At present, the council has no policy related to the governing or reporting of sexual harassment of or by council members or staff.

The push to adopt such a policy comes in the wake of sexual abuse allegations against Democratic Councilman Dan Johnson. Johnson is accused of groping Democratic Councilwoman Jessica Green during a recent press conference.

Council leaders conducted an investigation of those allegations and presented a report to Johnson this week. The Courier-Journal obtained a copy of the report and found Democratic caucus leaders recommended Johnson be publicly condemned and kicked out of the caucus. But they have no power to remove him from office.

In response to the allegations, council president David Yates proposed a temporary policy to guide harassment issues during a meeting Thursday night. But he withdrew the measure after criticism from Green, who argued for a more comprehensive measure.

Green and Republican Councilwoman Angela Leet are drafting an ordinance, according to council spokesman Tony Hyatt. That ordinance is expected to be assigned to a committee for further examination in the coming weeks.

MSD Rate Hikes

Creative Commons

MSD sewer

When the council returns, they’ll also be tasked with examining a proposal from local sewer officials to institute a 20 percent rate hike for sewer bills.

The rate increase would help fund critical infrastructure repairs, according to officials with the Metropolitan Sewer District. But the average bump in monthly bills — about $10.49 — doesn’t sit well with everyone. And it’s been shot down by council members in prior years.

The sewer district’s board of directors can approve rate hikes up to 6.9 percent; anything greater than that requires Metro Council approval.

MSD is under a federal consent decree to reduce sewer overflows into the Ohio River; the agency has spent more than $400 million so far on those projects, with about $500 million to go. These projects are different from the investments included in the current rate increase.

Tree Laws

An ordinance sponsored by Democratic leaders Bill Hollander and Cheri Bryant Hamilton aims to slow the decline of Louisville’s tree canopy by requiring all trees removed from public rights-of-way to be replaced.

The proposal has drawn pushback from council Republicans, but Hollander, the majority caucus chair, seems optimistic about its chances of becoming law.

The city already has a tree ordinance, but Hollander and Hamilton’s proposal would put in place a mandate for the replacement of removed trees, an element missing form the current law.

Louisville struggles with a fast-shrinking stock of trees.

An assessment released in 2015 estimated the city was losing 54,000 trees a year. Fewer trees contributes to the city’s growing heat island — an effect that leads to higher temperatures in the urban core.

Hollander said the ordinance is a step toward addressing that issue.

Trump Asks ‘Why No Action?’ Amid Questions About Obama’s Response To Russian Meddling Sunday, Jun 25 2017 

President Trump took to Twitter to question his predecessor’s judgment and actions — at the end of a week characterized by a steady drumbeat of questions about how and when the Obama administration chose to respond to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Why no action?,” the president asked in the first of two tweets Saturday evening that suggested the Obama administration didn’t do enough — and soon enough — to stop Russia last year.

Since Wednesday the Obama administration’s response has increasingly come under scrutiny in dueling congressional hearings held by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, in a bombshell report by the Washington Post and in the disclosure of correspondence between two Democratic senators last fall and Obama’s State Department first reported on by BuzzFeed.

In the final days of the presidential campaign last year, two Democratic senators asked President Obama to take action against Russia for its election meddling.

“Such attacks cannot be tolerated and the United States must take immediate measures to ensure that those responsible are held to account,” Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., wrote in a letter to Obama dated Nov. 1, 2016, just a week before Election Day.

After referencing the hacking and disclosure of emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee and other people and organizations aligned with the Democratic Party, Cardin and Feinstein went on to stress to Obama the importance of protecting the electoral process:

“The seminal event in a functioning democracy is an election, and the international implications of the results of a U.S. election are far reaching. Russia’s actions threaten to undermine our democratic process. Our electoral infrastructure is strong, but it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our institutions are protected. A cyberattack on our electoral process or any part of our critical political, economic, or military infrastructure is a hostile action that must be countered.”

The senators suggested that the assets of individuals found to have been involved in the Russian interference be frozen. Additionally, they counseled Obama to consider “expanding the use of secondary sanctions” and “taking proportional cyber responses beyond sanctions that would shine a direct spotlight on those responsible for the cyberattacks.” They also told Obama that the administration should indict those responsible in U.S. courts.

The State Department wrote back to the lawmakers a month later, after Hillary Clinton’s stinging loss to Donald Trump.

“As we have made clear to the Russian government and others, we will not tolerate attempts to interfere with the U.S. democratic process, and we will take action to protect our interests, including in cyberspace, and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing,” the Obama administration told the two senators.

The correspondence, reported on by BuzzFeed Friday, was part of a release of government records sought by Operation 45, a transparency project, in the course of Freedom of Information Act litigation filed against several U.S. intelligence agencies. Operation 45 “is dedicated to ensuring transparency and accountability for the Administration of Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States,” the project’s website says.

The BuzzFeed report about the letters came the same day as a Washington Post report that provided a look inside the Obama administration’s response to and decision-making about Russia. The CIA notified Obama in August of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in the campaign to interfere in the election, according to the Post. “The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump,” the Post report says.

But it would be roughly two months — not until Oct. 7, 2016, as Feinstein and Cardin pointed out in their letter — before the Obama administration publicly declared that the Russian government was behind the hacking of the DNC and other Democratic groups. The administration did not impose sanctions on Russia until late December 2016, some five months after the CIA’s intelligence report was hand-delivered to the White House, according to the Post. (“Over that five-month interval,” the Post report says, “the Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could ‘crater’ the Russian economy.”)

The U.S. intelligence community’s declassified report about the election interference was not made available to the public until early January 2017. Finally, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security did not designate state election systems as “critical infrastructure,” until early January of this year as well. This would have allowed additional cyber security assistance.

On Wednesday, Jeh Johnson, who was Obama’s secretary of Homeland Security during last year’s election, was asked by members of Congress about the timing of the administration’s response — specifically why the voting public was not informed about what Russia was up to until the fall of 2016.

One of the candidates, Johnson said, not naming but clearly referring to Donald Trump, “was predicting that the election was going to be rigged,” Johnson testified before the House Intelligence Committee, “and so we were concerned that by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the election process.” Johnson also told the top Democrat on the committee that he had been concerned last year that he would be criticized “for perhaps taking sides” in an ongoing election if he publicly spoke out about the Russian meddling that he knew was going on.

Tony Blinken, Obama’s former national security adviser, defended the previous administration’s response Friday to CNN, saying Obama took action to protect the electoral system itself from interference by the Russians.

“We made massive efforts so they couldn’t do that,” Blinken told the cable news network. “This led to two things: President Obama issued a very stark warning to President Putin in September at the G-20 conference in China. What we saw, or thought we saw, after that, it looked like the Russians stopped their efforts. But the damage was already done.”

Trump’s tweets Saturday were not his first this week in the vein of questioning the Obama’s administration’s response. The president tweeted Thursday morning and Friday evening, apparently in response to questions faced by Johnson and the Post’s reporting.

While Trump seems to now be accepting and acknowledging that Russia interfered in the election, as the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman pointed out, also on Twitter on Friday night, Trump has previously called Russian election interference a hoax perpetrated by Democrats to explain Clinton’s loss:

Speaking to the international media this month, Putin denied that the Russian government had any role in meddling in last year’s presidential election.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LouisvilleKY Metro Council approves 2017-2018 Operations and Capital Budgets for Metro Government Friday, Jun 23 2017 

Louisville – By a vote of 24 and 0 and one abstention, the Louisville Metro Council has approved the 2017-2018 Capital and Operating Budgets that have a continued emphasis on road paving, vacant and abandoned properties, criminal justice and quality of life investments.

“This is a well balanced budget that addresses many needs in our community and allows for pilots programs to address vacant and abandoned houses and to treat our mentally ill through the Living Room concept.  By trying new programs we are only making our community better and addressing the needs from many avenues,” said Councilwoman Marianne Butler (D-15), who chairs the Committee.

“The addition of funding for paving, addiction services and public safety will serve as hallmarks of our efforts in this year’s budget. I am proud of our work to cooperatively find long term solutions for our community,” said Budget Committee Vice-Chair Kevin Kramer (D-11).

metro council

The Committee has approved an amended budget focusing on the theme of “Building a Better Community.” The theme covers four areas:

Here are the highlights:

·      Investing in Criminal Justice

o   Funding for Public Defender ($50,000)

o   Funding for a Casey’s Law Advocate with JCAO ($36,000)

o   Funding for Two Deputy Coroners & Morgue Expansion ($170,000)

o   Study/Renovation of LMPD HQ & Fiscal Court Building ($300,000)

o   No More Red Dots ($550,000)

·      Increasing Investments in our Residents through Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments

o   Funding for Volunteers of America Freedom House ($515,000)

o   Funding for Centerstone Living Room Project ($325,000)

·      Investing in our Infrastructure and Facilities

o   $6.4. million added to Mayor’s Paving Road Improvements

o   Total Paving Investment $22,610,000

o   Total Additional Funding for sidewalk repairs $2,500,000 ($1.5M added)

o   Additional Mowing for Metro Owned Right of Way ($238,000)

·      Investing in Quality of Life

o   Neighborhoods

§  $200,000 Center for Neighborhoods

§  $250,000 Lexan Pilot Program (Clear Boarding)

§  $530,000 Additional VAP Demolition

o   Quality of Place

§  $200,000 African American Heritage Center

§  $30,000 Botanical Gardens

§  $125,000 AB Sawyer Master Plan

§  $125,000 Victory Park Master Plan

§  $100,000 Des Pres Park Pickleball Courts

o   Combining Affordable Housing Trust Fund & Louisville Cares

  “I am proud of the balanced budget we are submitting for the full Metro Council’s approval. This year’s investment of  $22.6 million for road paving is second year of our 10 year commitment to address this city wide concern. The Council has proven its desire to address more vacant and abandoned properties by adding funds for both demolition and Lexan clear plastic to clean up our neighborhoods,” said President David Yates (D-25). “The Council has also heard the voices in our community calling for funding to the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund by giving two-thirds of $14.5 million of which the final third will go to the revolving loan fund supporting affordable housing development in our community, Louisville CARES. I would like to thank my Budget Chairs, Councilwoman Marianne Butler and Councilman Kevin Kramer and the entire Budget Committee for their dedication to building an operating and capital plan for our next fiscal year.”

The Fiscal Year 2017/2018 Budgets will now be sent to Mayor Greg Fischer for his signature..

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Why California Is Banning State Travel To Kentucky Friday, Jun 23 2017 

The attorney general of California has added Kentucky to a list of destinations banned from official state travel, saying a new religious expression law passed by the Kentucky General Assembly is discriminatory.

Senate Bill 17 was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin this spring. Supporters say the legislation bolsters First Amendment protections for religious speech in public schools and universities.

Opponents have criticized the new law for language that protects religious and political student groups from being punished for how they select their members.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the Kentucky law could lead to discrimination.

“SB 17 could allow student-run organizations in colleges and K-12 schools to discriminate against classmates based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Becerra said.

Becerra also announced bans on state-funded travel to Texas, Alabama and North Dakota, citing the recent passage of laws that restrict adoption of children by LGBTQ couples.

Kentucky’s new law — which takes effect on June 29 — was filed in response to a 2015 controversy that arose in Johnson County over a school production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

School officials altered the script of the play to remove religious references, leading London Republican Sen. Albert Robinson to sponsor the bill.

Robinson defended the legislation in an interview on Friday. He said there’s nothing in the bill that “requires or even permits any discrimination of anybody anywhere whatsoever.”

“I’m highly disappointed that the man would be so stupid,” Robinson said of Becerra. “He can read it and he can see there’s absolutely no discrimination in that bill.”

The ACLU and Fairness Campaign raised concerns about the legislation when it was proposed in the General Assembly.

Amber Duke, communications director for ACLU of Kentucky, said California’s ban shows there are financial costs for the new law.

“This travel ban represents an unforeseen consequence of passing discriminatory legislation,” said Duke. “And I hope moving forward, legislators would see this as a warning.”

Duke said the organization hasn’t decided to challenge the law, but it’s “certainly something we’ll keep an eye on.”

According to a release from Becerra’s office, California’s travel ban applies to state-funded and state-sponsored travel for the state’s “agencies, departments, boards, authorities, and commissions, including an agency, department, board, authority, or commission of the University of California, the Board of Regents of the University of California, and the California State University.”

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