Jan. 31, 2018: CAPITOL PUBLIC RADIO - California Lawmakers Move To Grant Whistleblower Protections To Staff:

January 31, 2018

Link to original story HERE:

The California Legislature finally appears set to enact whistleblower protections for legislative employees — and in some cases, even lobbyists. Those efforts repeatedly failed in previous years before the #MeToo movement took hold.  

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would offer protection for lobbyists and staff who report harassment. It would also require the Legislature to keep records of harassment complaints on file for 12 years.

“The women and men who work here demand we do better,” said the bill’s author, Democratic Sen. Anthony Portantino.

Although the bill passed unanimously (except for Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza, who is on a temporary leave of absence as an outside law firm investigates sexual harassment complaints against him), several lawmakers raised concerns.

Republican Sen. Joel Anderson took a shot at Democratic leaders for failing to pass similar measures until now.

“Had leadership been more open to protecting women and protecting people against harassment, and those bills had passed back then, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in today,” Anderson said.

Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell said the real solution lies with a joint Senate-Assembly panel working to create a single set of rules for both houses.

“What this is going to require is a single-voice response in terms of how the Legislature will step up and develop policies and practices to provide protection for all impacted by sexual harassment,” Mitchell said.

The measure now moves to the Assembly. A second whistleblower protection billthat would apply to legislative staff who report any legal or ethical violations – not just harassment – is expected to win final passage in both houses within the next week.

- Ben Adler, Capital Public Radio