Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, announced Tuesday her bill, Assembly Bill 2065, jointly authored with Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) received unanimous support by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
“Every violation of the law by a public official is a violation of the public’s trust. The Legislature has a responsibility to ensure integrity in the people’s government by creating an atmosphere of transparency and accountability,” said Melendez. “Legislative employees have a unique opportunity to help provide that accountability by reporting any unethical behavior.”
AB 2065 would extend the California Whistleblower Protection Act to legislative staff who report illegal or unethical behavior in the Legislature and establishes a clear process for bringing these allegations forward.
Under current law, the California Whistleblower Protection Act provides protection to state employees in the executive and judicial branches. However, employees of the Legislature are not covered under this act, nor do they have a process for reporting questionable governmental behavior.
“Legislative staff members are often the closest in proximity to instances of fraud, waste, and other violations, and as such are in the best position to report,”stated Gorell. “Almost all state employees, including executive and judicial branch and public university employees, currently have whistleblower protection. In light of recent events, it is appropriate and necessary to give legislative staff this protection.”
AB 2065 will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar and a portion of Hemet. It also includes the Riverside County unincorporated areas of Lake Mathews, Good Hope, Nuevo, and Winchester.