CSWE Response to CA Travel Ban and Texas Legislation

6/29/2017
Dear Colleagues,
 
As many of you know, California’s attorney general announced last Thursday that the state’s travel ban will now include the state of Texas in response to Texas House Bill 3859. The new law permits workers within the state’s child welfare system to withhold services from groups of people if serving the group violates the worker’s “sincerely held religious belief.” Such a clause is likely to affect LGBTQ and religious minority groups. Not only is this law antithetical to the values and ethics of our profession, but inclusion of the state of Texas on California’s travel ban prohibits California state employees from using taxpayer funds to travel to Texas, therefore prohibiting them from attending and presenting at the APM.
 
We have been encouraged by member outreach reaffirming that it is critical now, more than ever, to have a strong presence in these communities to communicate our unwavering support for those who are being discriminated against. CSWE, along with its Council on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression, is planning a panel discussion at the APM on Friday, October 20, 2017, comprised of local agency representatives and advocates faced with conducting business in the context of a challenging political environment. The session will be recorded so we can make it available to those unable to attend.
 
As we mentioned in our April 19 communication, CSWE secures meeting venues 5 years in advance. Conference site selections are made this far in advance with several factors in mind to ensure the best fiscal value for our members. In light of the legislative developments in Texas in the last several months, we explored every possible scenario for moving the 2017 APM to another location. Financially, it was not possible to absorb the level of monetary penalty we would incur in breaking our contract with the hotel. Now that we are faced with the newly enacted travel ban, we are diligently exploring ways to accommodate those who cannot travel to Dallas in October. Several CSWE members have suggested innovative ideas for using technology to overcome this unfortunate obstacle, and we want to assure our members that CSWE will do everything in its power to find a solution. For those directly affected by the California travel ban, you may request an APM registration refund. Those requests can be submitted to apm@cswe.org.  
 
We welcome your suggestions on how we might come together on behalf of our colleagues and the communities we serve to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with laws that promote discrimination and how we can make APM programming available to those unable to join us in Dallas. 

 
Darla_Signature.jpg       Barbara_Signature-(1).jpg
  Darla Spence Coffey                  Barbara W. Shank