SACRAMENTO – Today, the state legislature sent to the governor Assembly Bill 403, a measure authored by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) to extend state worker whistleblower protections to legislative employees. Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) is a coauthor of the measure.
“I appreciate Assemblywoman Melendez for her persistence in pushing this bill through,” said Morrell. “For four years, we have watched Democrat leadership attempt to sideline this effort while quietly setting her bills aside without a vote. I am glad AB 403 has now passed the legislature with bipartisan support. It is regrettable that it took a scandal created by Democrat donor Harvey Weinstein to generate enough urgency to get the bill to the governor.”
AB 403 establishes the Legislative Employee Whistleblower Act, providing legislative employees with the same protections other state workers already receive under the California Whistleblower Protection Act. The bill prohibits any legislator or legislative employee from intimidating a person into not reporting sexual harassment, sexual assault or other illegal, unethical, immoral or inappropriate behavior. It also prohibits retaliation against legislative employees who report misconduct.
This legislation is the fourth attempt by Assemblywoman Melendez to pass the act into law. In past years, the effort has been killed in the Senate Appropriations Committee by Democratic leadership without a vote, despite bipartisan support in the Assembly and other Senate committees.
AB 403 now heads to the governor for his consideration.