Senate Leader Atkins’ BRIDGE Project Passes Assembly

September 11, 2023

SACRAMENTO – Today, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins’ to lift California’s travel ban to other states and create in its place a program encouraging acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community passed the Assembly on a bipartisan vote.

“With an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills having been introduced in other states this year, and targeted attacks on the LGBTQ+ community and our allies, we need understanding, empathy, and kindness now more than ever,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “I appreciate Speaker Rivas and my colleagues in the Assembly for embracing this important legislation and supporting a more inclusive future for our country.”

Senate Bill 447 would create a fund that could be used to create non-partisan, inclusive messaging, discourage discrimination, and help members of the LGBTQ+ community feel less isolated. Called the BRIDGE Project – Building and Reinforcing Inclusive, Diverse, Gender-Supportive Equality – the legislation would help California champion compassion and outreach to people throughout the country.

California’s current law on the matter AB 1887 (2016), restricts state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions from using taxpayer funds to travel to states that have adopted discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ laws. While the travel ban originally restricted travel to four states, that number has since grown to include 26 states.

The travel ban has had the unintended impact of further isolating members of the LGBTQ+ community in those states, and hampering Californians from being able to conduct research, business, and engage with all people from those states. With an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills having been introduced in state legislatures nationwide, California can further position itself as a national leader on inclusivity and serve as a beacon of hope and support for those who have been isolated by state-sponsored discrimination elsewhere.

The bill specifies that California employees or officers will not be required to travel to states that have enacted laws that would discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

SB 447 passed the Assembly with an urgency clause adopted – 64-12 as of adjournment – and it will return to the Senate on concurrence, where it also will need to pass with a two-thirds majority. The urgency clause would allow the legislation to take effect immediately if it is signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Learn more about the BRIDGE Project here.

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Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: