SACRAMENTO -- Independent experts could examine the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge without fear that they would be sued under a bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Senate gave unanimous approval Monday to SB110.

Seven experts were selected to review the bridge's construction by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office after questions arose about the independence of other specialists chosen by the California Department of Transportation. Caltrans is building the bridge, which has been plagued by defects.

Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord says a state-employee designation for the analysts protects them from lawsuits. He says their inspection is vital so the state can learn from mistakes that drove up the costs and led to delays and safety concerns about the $6.4 billion span.