The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 9, 2012
California bill would give protection to legislative whistleblowers

Thumbnail image for 110413 Portantino.jpgAssemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) has introduced a measure that would give employees in the Legislature the same protections afforded other state workers when they report waste, fraud and abuse.

Assembly Bill 1378 would require the Assembly and Senate Rules committees to designate an officer to receive written complaints that the state auditor would investigate. Anyone found guilty of retaliation against a legislative employee would face fines up to $10,000 and a year in county jail.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee will hear the whistleblower bill Tuesday at its 9 a.m. session.

The California Whistleblower Protection Act specifically exempts elected officials and employees of the Legislature. Here's the pertinent paragraph from Government Code 8547.2:

"Employee" means an individual appointed by the Governor, or employed or holding office in a state agency as defined by Section 11000, including, for purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive, an employee of the California State University, or an individual appointed by the Legislature to a state board or commission and who is not a Member or employee of the Legislature.

"Repealing this exemption show's we are serious about finding waste and fraud. It's the right thing to do," Portantino said in a statement released by his office today.

Last year, he cast the lone Democratic vote against the state budget, then claimed Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez retaliated by slashing Portantino's office budget. triggering a sequence of events That led to questions about the lower chamber's spending and a lawsuit that eventually forced the Assembly to turn over budget information that it wanted withheld from the public.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino / asmdc.org

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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