Reps. Garcia and Friedman sign on as joint authors
■ Chronicle News Service
State Rep. Melissa A. Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) announced that Rep. Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, and Rep. Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), chair of the Joint Committee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response, have both signed on as joint authors to Melendez’s whistleblower legislation, AB 403.
“I am honored Assemblywomen Garcia and Friedman have joined me in my effort to empower victims and to provide much needed transparency in our state’s capitol,” said Melendez. “Together we can end this culture of corruption and sexual harassment in Sacramento.”
“I’m proud to be a joint author of this important piece of legislation,” Garcia said. “I was a joint author of previous versions of this bill and I’m grateful for Assemblymember Melendez’ persistent leadership on enhancing whistleblower protections for staff in the Capitol,” said Garcia. “As victims continue to bravely speak up, it’s clear that these protections are sorely needed in order to change our workplace culture. It’s time to pass this bill once and for all.”
“If we’re going to stop harassment, we need a system that holds perpetrators accountable and empowers victims to come forward,” said Friedman. “AB 403 will provide a long overdue level of protection, and I’m proud to join Assemblymember Melendez in her efforts.”
Melendez has made the issue of providing whistleblower protections to legislative staff one of her main priorities since she was elected to office in 2012, according to her staff. She has run four iterations of this legislation. Every prior version received unanimous support in the Assembly and subsequent Senate policy committees only to be held up in the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to staff.
Under current law, the California Whistleblower Protection Act provides protection to state employees in the executive and judicial branches who report any improper or unethical activity. However, employees of the Legislature are not covered by the act, Melendez staff reported.
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. Follow her on Twitter: @asmMelendez