(TNS) — San Francisco, Calif., Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton wants to ban city-paid employee travel to states with restrictive voting laws to protest Georgia's controversial new legislation that he calls "discriminatory and segregationist."
Walton said on Tuesday that he plans to request that the city attorney amend the administrative code to ban travel to, and city contracts involving, Georgia and other states if they also implement similar laws. The contract ban applies to companies that have their U.S. headquarters in the state or where a majority of the work will be performed in that state.
He said he hopes other cities and companies will follow suit amid a wave of backlash against the new law, with Major League Baseball already pulling its All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest.
"I'm 100 percent against any type of technique to take away the voice of the people. The law the Georgia state legislature passed is to clearly keep voters of color suppressed," said Walton, the first Black man to serve as board president. "As the city and county of San Francisco, there's nothing we can do from a law standpoint, but we can let everyone know we're against those type of policies."
The latest protest was prompted by Georgia's Republican-led legislature passing a law in late March that further regulates voting — shortly after the first Democratic victory in the presidential and U.S. Senate elections in the state in a generation. The lengthy law, among other changes, cuts down on time to request an absentee ballot, limits drop boxes, makes it a misdemeanor to offer food or water to voters in line and gives partisan lawmakers more control over election officials.
Civil rights advocates argue the new law will disproportionately affect urban communities of color. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican who signed the bill into law, said it was necessary to ensure election security and integrity.
San Francisco already bans city-paid employee travel to and city contracts involving Georgia and 23 other states that restrict LGBTQ rights and abortion access. Previously, when Gov. Gavin Newsom was the city's mayor, he banned travel to Arizona because of a conservative immigration law. Exceptions to the bans include travel to enforce laws or defend legal claims, required under contracts or necessary to protect health and safety.
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