Portantino to protect legislature whistleblowers

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State Senator Anthony Portantino, representing Californians living in the northern San Gabriel Valley, announced Wednesday that he will introduce a bill to the State Legislature extending whistle-blower protections to those who report misconduct by California politicians.

It’s Portantino’s second time authoring such a bill, and his third time supporting whistleblower protections for those working in Sacramento. But Portantino told constituents in a Wednesday newsletter that recent events pushed him to try again in January, when the legislature returns to regular business.

On Oct. 17, more than 140 women signed a letter sent to the Los Angeles Times decrying the sexual misconduct they allege is rife within the state legislature. The women, which include lobbyists, staffers and even state senators, allege that they face pervasive sexual harassment at work, and that they’ve had their jobs threatened when speaking out.

The state Senate ordered an independent investigation one week later, while the Assembly announced its intent to hold hearings on the matter. But Portantino said that protecting whistleblowers’ jobs is more important than ever after the allegations came to light.

“There are many good people working diligently to figure out prudent and effective next steps to protect women in the capitol from abuse and intimidation,” Portantino said. “Immediately extending whistle-blower protection is a necessary and easy first step.”

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