When blue state travel bans have real world impact

Did you hear the latest about the travel ban? No… not the President’s temporary ban on immigration from a number of majority-Muslim nations. I’m talking about New York’s ban on official travel to North Carolina. Governor Cuomo put the ban in place in 2016 in response to the Tar Heel State’s efforts to stop men from using the women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers and it’s not yet been repealed. It was initially described as a ban on “official travel” for state employees, but the rule affected more people than state government workers.

The ban also applied to travel by anyone using state funds. This included students at State University of New York (SUNY) campuses. That’s now become a serious issue because a number of members of the swimming and diving teams at SUNY Geneseo qualified for the national championships this year. The problem is that they’re being held in Greensboro, North Carolina. Cuomo initially said that they couldn’t go at all, but recent developments have made the question more complicated. (Democrat and Chronicle)

Cuomo implemented a state travel ban to North Carolina in 2016 in response to the state’s controversial “bathroom bill.” With the championships being held in Greensboro, that presented the 10 qualifying student-athletes from Geneseo with a dilemma, and the community has responded.

On Tuesday, Geneseo alumni and former divers launched a GoFundMe “designed to secure the necessary funds to allow these athletes to stay within a reasonable distance to the championship venue.”

On Friday morning, the fundraiser had already raised $6,000, surpassing the original goal of $4,000. Organizers are hoping that these privately-raised funds will allow the swim team to stay at hotels in Greensboro as opposed to staying more than an hour away in Virginia.

These students bust their butts training all year long and competing for a chance like this. Cuomo’s initial instinct was to forbid them from attending entirely. After the inevitable pushback, his “compromise” isn’t all that much better. The teams raised their own money for the travel expenses, but now the Governor is saying that they can only go and spend that money if they stay at a hotel in Virginia, meaning there’s an extra hour of commuting time every day, to and from the event.

Yes, that’s right. Virginia is the state where the top three elected officials are all under fire for either racism (blackface photos) or alleged sexual assault. But Cuomo would rather see the money that didn’t even come from the government’s coffers going there than to some hotel in Greensboro. So what’s the message that’s being sent and who is being punished here? This isn’t a swipe at the government of North Carolina, but to the hotel where the students would stay and any other businesses in the Greensboro area where the team might spend some money.

And, of course, it’s a punishment to the diving and swimming teams. Having to get up an hour earlier and get back an hour later each day is obviously going to impact their training and preparation schedules as they prepare to compete in the national championships. And all for what? Just to show that a Democrat like Andrew Cuomo can pull off a travel ban better than President Trump?

Flee New York if you get the opportunity. I’m definitely already looking into it. The state is a hopeless pit of liberal-driven despair at this point.

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Ed Morrissey 10:01 AM on June 02, 2023