In a 7-to-4 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to repeal a ban on funding travel or doing business with companies in states with restrictions on abortion access, LGBTQ+ rights or voting rights.
The Administrative Code Chapter 12X was first passed in 2016 as a statement of opposition against states passing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. The ban later expanded to states limiting abortion access and voting rights in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
As a result of the recent shift in abortion policies, the city was prohibited from contracting with companies located in over half the states in the U.S., including small businesses owned by women, LGBTQ+ people and people of color.
In February, the City Administrator’s Office concluded in an analysis of the legislation that the ban has added “additional administrative burden” to staff, vendors and citizens, while doing little to make an economic or political impact on other states.
“The evidence is, we haven’t changed a single state law,” said Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who voted in favor of the repeal.
Proponents argue that dropping the ban will increase contractor competition and lower costs, which will make it easier to complete construction projects.
“I do believe that it’s a mistake to repeal … 12X without having a full conversation, a full plan so we can affirmatively understand and know we’re protecting our businesses and protected classes.”Supervisor Shamann Walton
“It’s not achieving the goal we want to achieve, and it is making our government less efficient,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who introduced the repeal.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, the former city supervisor who initially authored 12X, also expressed his support for the repeal. He said that at the time, he believed a collective ban alongside other states and cities could make a serious impact on states that have passed discriminatory laws. The potential of this ban “never materialized,” he said.
“Sadly, it’s time to acknowledge that this policy hasn’t worked and that we need to pull back,” he said.
Supervisor Shamann Walton said that there are still too many “unintended consequences” to repealing Chapter 12X entirely, as there was no analysis on the effects it could have on small businesses. He said it was also unclear what this repeal would solve, since there are already exemptions in the policy.
Walton was joined by Supervisors Dean Preston, Connie Chan and Myrna Melgar in voting in opposition to the repeal.
“I do believe that it’s a mistake to repeal this,” Walton said. “To repeal 12X without having a full conversation, a full plan so we can affirmatively understand and know we’re protecting our businesses and protected classes.”
The legislation is scheduled to receive a final vote next week before it heads to Mayor London Breed’s desk for a signature.