Senate Leader Atkins’ BRIDGE Project Passed by California State Legislature

September 12, 2023

SACRAMENTO – Today, in a move that will further uphold California as a beacon of hope and inclusivity, the Senate passed Senate Bill 447, a bill authored by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) that would lift the state’s travel ban and create in its place a program to encourage acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The bill, known as the BRIDGE Project – Building and Reinforcing Inclusive, Diverse, and Gender-supportive Equality – now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom for his consideration. The bill, which passed its final vote in the Senate by 31-6 and includes an urgency clause, would take effect immediately if signed into law.

“I remember what it was like to grow up in a time and place where conversations about someone being gay or lesbian only happened in whispers,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “While years have passed since then, there are still areas of our country where the LGBTQ+ community – and especially our LGBTQ+ youth – feel isolated and fearful for their safety. The BRIDGE Project would be a conduit of hope and compassion, and encourage others to open their hearts and minds to be more accepting and inclusive. It’s within all of us to be that light.”

SB 447 would create a fund that could be used to create non-partisan, inclusive messaging intended to help discourage discrimination and unify communities.

Currently, travel to states that have adopted anti-LGBTQ+ laws is restricted under AB 1887 (2016), which restricts state agencies, departments, boards, and commissions from using taxpayer funds to travel to states that have passed discriminatory laws. While the travel ban originally restricted travel to four states when it was first passed, that number has since grown to include 26 states. Over the years, the travel ban has unintentionally hampered Californians from being able to conduct research, business, and engage with people from those states.

Now, with an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills having been introduced in state legislatures nationwide, SB 447 will help California 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 on Monday, September 11 in a 64-12 vote.

See what others are saying and 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: