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Assemblymembers Melendez and Gorell Announce Whistleblower Protection Bill

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell

Citing the recent suspension of three California State Senators facing separate felony criminal charges including perjury, voter fraud, bribery, corruption, and gun trafficking, Assemblymembers Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) and Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) today announced legislation to provide whistleblower protections for legislative staff members who report illegal and unethical behavior of their superiors.

“Corruption must never be tolerated. The legislature should be doing everything in its power to ensure this government is one of honor and integrity,” said Assemblywoman Melendez. “Providing whistleblower protections to legislative staff is a first step in the fight to eradicate corruption and begin the process of restoring the public’s trust.”

“We can encourage a greater level of accountability and transparency by giving legislative staff members the confidence to report this type of criminal behavior in the future,” stated Assemblyman Gorell, a former Ventura County prosecutor.  “Staff members have the greatest visibility over activities in and around the Capitol, and they are likely to have the most immediate knowledge of unethical or criminal behavior.  We must create an environment where employees feel more comfortable reporting bad behavior.”

While most state workers in California are currently covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act, those rights are protected by the State Personnel Board, an agency which has no authority over legislative staff.  The bill establishes a clear process in which legislative staff can bring allegations of improper acts to the Committee on Rules of the Assembly or Senate for investigation.

The language of the whistleblower protection bill will be amended into AB 2065.

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