SACRAMENTO – Today, Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) issued the following statement after Assembly Bill 403, authored by Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) and amended in the Senate to include an urgency clause, passed on the Assembly Floor. The bill now goes to Governor Brown for his signature.
AB 403 will prohibit a legislator or legislative employee from using his or her official authority to intimidate or threaten any person to prevent them from reporting improper or illegal governmental activity. While judicial and executive branch employees already are protected under current law, employees of the Legislature are not.
All 13 members of the Senate Republican Caucus signed on as co-authors of AB 403 and voted to pass it.
“After four long years, the Legislature has finally passed a bill that would protect its employees for reporting sexual harassment and other wrongdoing. I urge Governor Brown to sign the legislative employee whistleblower act without delay to ensure that all employees work in a safe environment.
“Today’s vote only happened because Assemblywoman Melendez never gave up on her bill, even when it kept getting blocked. She was pushing this bill several years before the rise of the #MeToo movement. I am proud of her persistent efforts to protect whistleblowers,” said Senate Republican Leader Bates.
“I never expected this journey for justice to be easy. The culture of victimization by people in power has to be confronted head on, and it has to stop. As one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou said, ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ Women and men in the Capitol will finally be able to tell their stories, without retaliation, upon this bill being signed into law. I am grateful for the bill’s overwhelming support and I look forward to a prompt signature by the Governor,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore).
Click here to review a compilation of floor remarks from members of the Senate Republican Caucus.