State Senator Pat Gallivan, R-Elma, is asking the governor to rescind a 2016 executive order which banned non-essential state travel to North Carolina.

He said 13 student athletes from SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Brockport and SUNY Cortland are participating in the NCAA Division III Swimming Championships in Greensboro in two weeks. However, due to the executive order, they would not be able to stay in the Tar Heel State while they compete and would have to make accommodations and commute daily from a neighboring state.

“This is not only a distraction for the athletes and their coaches; it puts them at a competitive disadvantage and could have a negative impact on their performance,” Gallivan wrote in a letter to the governor. “The additional travel required will also add to the overall cost for attending the tournament.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, signed the executive order in response to North Carolina’s so-called Bathroom Bill or H.B. 2 which, in part, forced transgender individuals to use restrooms that corresponded to the sex identified on their birth certificates. The legislation also banned local governments from instituting and enforcing their own non-discrimination ordinances.

In March 2017, North Carolina lawmakers, facing pressure from the NCAA, repealed the transgender bathroom portion of the law. It was enough for the college sports governing body which lifted its own boycott of events in the state, however many gay rights activists called the compromise a “fake repeal.”

“In New York, we do not support blatant discrimination, bigotry and bias.” Cuomo Senior Advisor Rich Azzopardi said. “Standing up for equality is not a fad and as long as this anti-LGBTQ law remains in effect, New York tax dollars are not going to be spent there.”

Gallivan pointed out the governor said in reference to New York State’s deal with Amazon, that putting political interests first was innapropriate. He said it is also true in this case.

“It is unfair to make a political statement on the backs and lives of these student athletes who have worked so hard to reach this level of competition,” Gallivan said. “We should be celebrating their achievements, not punishing them for something they have no control over.”

Azzopardi pointed out the executive order does not ban competition in the state – just the use of taxpayer money. Three other GOP lawmakers, state Senators Rob Ortt and Daphne Jordan and Assembly Member Marjorie Burns, joined Gallivan at a press conference at the Capitol today.

Gallivan Letter by Ryan Whalen on Scribd