Whistleblower bill passes out of Senate after CNPA urges amendments

In light of recent allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct at the Capitol, the Senate mustered a renewed interest in passing by Assemblymember Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), a whistleblower protection effort that has previously failed four times on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s suspense calendar.

The bill strengthens existing legal protections for individuals who report violations of law in the workplace, including sexual harassment. The bill was resuscitated from the Appropriations Committee in January, and initially amended with ambiguous language that could have made any document related to any sexual harassment or other incident of misconduct completely secret. CNPA immediately objected to the provisions, and they were removed on Jan. 29 at 10:29 a.m.

The Senate voted on the measure exactly 72 hours later, delaying the vote for two minutes after discussion had ceased in order to allow the full 72 hours to elapse, as required by the recent voter-initiated constitutional amendment, Proposition 54, passed in 2016.

The bill is up for a vote on the Assembly floor, where it is expected to pass and be signed by the governor. It has an urgency clause, which means it needs a two-thirds vote to pass the Assembly and, upon signing, will be effective immediately.