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Whistleblower protection bill likely resurrected by #MeToo movement




A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
A view of the California State Capitol in Sacramento.
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Each year for the past four years, California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (AD-67) has introduced a bill to protect whistleblowers working in the legislature. Each year it passed the Assembly, just to be shelved by the Senate's Appropriations Committee. That is, until recently.

Last month, the Committee released it and, last Thursday, the Senate passed the bill unanimously. It now heads back to the Assembly where a vote could happen as early as Monday.

It took a long time for the bill to get this far. So why the sudden change?

The bill's author, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, says the recent discussions about harassment in the workplace, including the #MeToo movement, may have helped fuel the decision. 

This year, when we had all these women saying 'you have no idea what's going on in the Capitol,' or 'some of you know what's going on, but you're not doing anything about it, and we're not going to put up with it anymore,' it was the perfect opportunity — unfortunate circumstances, however — to bring the bill forward and say look, we owe this to the people who work for us, to protect them under the law just like we do everyone else.  

UPDATE: The bill passed the Assembly on Monday afternoon. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.