California Senate approves staff whistleblower protections

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate has unanimously approved whistleblower protections for legislative staff after four years of stonewalling the measure.

The Senate's passage comes as the Legislature grapples with an ongoing sexual misconduct scandal that's prompted two members to resign and another to take a leave of absence.

State employees receive whistleblower protections but they do not extend to legislative staff. The measure provides protection for reporting all types of ethical violations, not just sexual harassment.

The Senate says it's investigated 15 sexual harassment complaints since 2006 and the Assembly reports 16. Critics say more people don't report because they fear retaliation.

Both chambers are preparing to release names of lawmakers who have faced discipline for sexual misconduct.

The bill now goes back to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass.

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