Assemblyman Anthony Portantino has struck out in his push for legislation to protect Capitol whistleblowers.
For the second time this year, a whistleblower bill proposed by Portantino has been killed by an Assembly committee.
The latest defeat occurred this week in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which rejected Portantino's Assembly Bill 2256 by a vote of 3 yes, 7 no, with most Democrats voting against the measure.
Current California law protects most state employees for whistleblowing -- including executive branch employees, California State University workers, and legislative appointees to boards and commissions.
AB 2256 would have expanded the list to include current and former legislative employees.
"I'm highly disappointed," Portantino, D-La Cañada-Flintridge, said after his bill died. "I think it begs the question, 'What is the agency hiding?'"
The judiciary committee's analysis of AB 2256 noted numerous questions, however, including the possibility that large numbers of anonymous complaints could be filed and that some could be politically motivated.
AB 2256 went further than Portantino's previous whistleblower proposal by imposing on legislative staff an "affirmative duty to disclose or report improper governmental activity," the analysis said.
"This provision has no known precedent in California law, and the bill does not state how this apparently novel duty would be carried out in light of the amorphous and arguably subjective nature of 'improper governmental activity,'" the analysis said.
AB 2256 would have authorized the Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate complaints or refer them to the attorney general, district attorneys, or the Assembly or Senate Rules Committees for consideration.
The FPPC opposed AB 2256, saying it is concerned about any legislation that would expand its duties but not its budget.
Portantino's previous whistleblower bill, Assembly Bill 1378, was derailed in January by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.