Two conventions back out of plans to come to Louisville after CA ban on state-employee travel

06/29/2017 02:24 PM

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky’s largest city is already feeling the impact of California’s travel ban.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced this afternoon that two conventions bringing in more than $2 million dollars in combined economic impact have backed out of plans to come to Louisville after a recent ban on state funded travel from California.

The Louisville mayor said that he is worried about what else may come from the ban.

“I am very concerned about this travel ban and citizens should be concerned too, because of the economic impact it has on our city on our state, and the commentary on our state,” Fischer said. “This ban doesn’t just mean that a few state workers from California won’t be coming to our city. The real threat is what we’ve seen since the few short days since the travel ban was announced — large convention groups with members from all over the country deciding not to come to our city.”

Fischer sought to extend the point reminding those that feel the issue is just a “Louisville problem,” that the 24 million tourist visits to Louisville each year translate to $3.5 billion in economic impact for the city, and $14.5 billion in economic impact for the commonwealth, he said.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra added Kentucky along with three other states to the list of prohibited locations banning non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against the LGBT community.

The ban comes after the passage of Senate Bill 17 known as the “Charlie Brown bill.” The legislation is meant to provide students the ability to express their religious and political viewpoints; those in opposition to the bill believe the legislation allows students to discriminate against LGBT students.

On Thursday, Fischer said he had talked with House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, left a message for Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and spoke with Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear about “movement” on the issue.

Fischer said he feels “goodwill” on the behalf of lawmakers to address the issue. Fischer said he has not talked with Gov. Bevin about the legislation. He said there could be some potential additions to the bill or statements from lawmakers which could remedy the situation he said.

The Louisville mayor also talked with Becerra last week about Louisville history being inclusive. Fischer has asked Becerra to exempt the city from the ban. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray sent a similar request on Tuesday.

Representatives from Greater Louisville Inc., Brown Forman and the Louisville Sports Commission also spoke about the challenges the travel ban bring to their respective industries.


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