CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a news release Tuesday, strongly criticizing California’s ban on state-funded travel to West Virginia and other states, describing the ban as “an affront to the respect that the Constitution affords each state to govern as its constituents deem fit.”

The release from Morrisey came Tuesday in response to a travel ban related to West Virginia’s passage of legislation relating to transgender participation in interscholastic athletic events.

The California prohibition now bans state-funded travel to West Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota, along with 12 other states previously added to the list.

“States should not penalize other states because of policy differences. The economic coercion demonstrated by California is an affront to the dignity of other co-sovereign states and amounts to legislating across state borders in an effort to force the radical world view of large states onto those living elsewhere. Federalism works best when individual states can pursue policies supported by their own constituents, and in West Virginia our office will defend the state’s efforts to protect the integrity of women’s sports. Title IX opened many opportunities for girls and women across the Mountain State and beyond. This legislation preserves fair competition. It is simply wrong for other states to exert financial pressure in such a manner. West Virginia is a beautiful state, and I continually urge everyone – in California and elsewhere – to experience its magnificent hills, streams and adventure, as well as its loving people.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

Also on Tuesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice spent time during his COVID-19 briefing defending his decision to sign the bill banning transgender athletes from competing in female athletics. “I don’t think anybody here is discriminating against transgender people. I hope and pray West Virginia is always a very welcoming state and loves everyone, everyone. From my standpoint, it was all about athletic competition,” Justice said.

That bill has since spawned a federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender athlete from Bridgeport.

The Attorney General announced June 17 his office would intervene in defense of West Virginia’s newly passed law.