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AB-1197 Whistleblower protection.(2011-2012)

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AB1197:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  January 11, 2012
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 04, 2012
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 31, 2011

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1197


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Hill

February 18, 2011


An act to add Article 7 (commencing with Section 8295) to Chapter 7 of Division 4 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to public utility employees whistleblower protection.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1197, as amended, Hill. Public utility employees: whistleblowers. Whistleblower protection.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities. The California Constitution authorizes the commission to establish rules for all public utilities, subject to control by the Legislature.
This bill would require the commission to establish a comprehensive whistleblower protection program to protect public utility employees, former employees, and third-party contractors and subcontractors from management retaliation for bringing information to the commission or other public entities, as defined, regarding unreported, but not limited to, safety issues.
Under existing law, a violation of any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because the bill would require the commission to adopt rules for the protection of whistleblowers and a violation of these rules would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Article 7 (commencing with Section 8295) is added to Chapter 7 of Division 4 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:
Article  7. Whistleblower Protection Program

8295.
 The commission shall establish a comprehensive whistleblower protection program to protect public utility employees, former employees, and third-party contractors and subcontractors from management retaliation for bringing information to the commission or other public entities regarding unreported, but not limited to, safety issues. For these purposes purposes of this section, “other public entities” includes the whistleblower hotline maintained by the Attorney General pursuant to Section 1102.7 of the Labor Code.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.