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AB-1233 Whistleblower investigation policy: state agencies.(2015-2016)

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AB1233:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 01, 2016
Amended  IN  Senate  June 15, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 04, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 15, 2015

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1233


Introduced by Assembly Member Levine

February 27, 2015


An act to amend Section 8547.2 of, and to add Section 8547.16 to to, the Government Code, relating to improper governmental activities.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1233, as amended, Levine. Whistleblower investigation policy: state agencies.
The California Whistleblower Protection Act requires the State Auditor to administer the act and to investigate and report on improper governmental activities, as defined. The act requires the State Auditor to establish a means of submitting allegations of improper governmental activity, and generally requires the State Auditor to keep confidential every investigation, including all investigative files and work product.
The product. The act authorizes the State Auditor to issue a public report of an investigation that has substantiated an improper governmental activity, keeping confidential the identity of the employee or employees involved. The act also further authorizes the State Auditor to release any findings or evidence supporting any findings resulting from an investigation whenever the State Auditor determines it necessary to serve the interests of the state.
This bill would require a state agency agency, as defined, that utilizes a whistleblower investigation policy separate from the act to publicly report, in the manner in which the State Auditor is authorized to publicly report, any investigation of a whistleblower complaint that has substantiated improper government activities. The bill would specify that its provisions shall not be deemed to require the disclosure of a public record that is otherwise not required to be disclosed pursuant to any other state law.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 8547.2 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8547.2.
 For the purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Employee” means an individual appointed by the Governor, or employed or holding office in a state agency as defined by Section 11000, including, for purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive, an employee of the California State University, or an individual appointed by the Legislature to a state board or commission and who is not a Member or employee of the Legislature. In addition, “employee” means a person employed by the Supreme Court, a court of appeal, a superior court, or the Administrative Office of the Courts for the purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive, and Section 8547.13, except for those provisions of Section 8547.4 concerning notice of adverse action and the State Personnel Board. “Employee” includes a former employee who met the criteria of this subdivision during his or her employment.
(b) “Illegal order” means a directive to violate or assist in violating a federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation, or an order to work or cause others to work in conditions outside of their line of duty that would unreasonably threaten the health or safety of employees or the public.
(c) “Improper governmental activity” means an activity by a state agency or by an employee that is undertaken in the performance of the employee’s duties, undertaken inside a state office, or, if undertaken outside a state office by the employee, directly relates to state government, whether or not that activity is within the scope of his or her employment, and that (1) is in violation of any state or federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to, corruption, malfeasance, bribery, theft of government property, fraudulent claims, fraud, coercion, conversion, malicious prosecution, misuse of government property, or willful omission to perform duty, (2) is in violation of an Executive order of the Governor, a California Rule of Court, or any policy or procedure mandated by the State Administrative Manual or State Contracting Manual, or (3) is economically wasteful, involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency. For purposes of Sections 8547.4, 8547.5, 8547.7, 8547.10, and 8547.11, “improper governmental activity” includes any activity by the University of California or by an employee, including an officer or faculty member, who otherwise meets the criteria of this subdivision. For purposes of Sections 8547.4, 8547.5, and 8547.13, “improper governmental activity” includes any activity by the Supreme Court, a court of appeal, a superior court, or the Administrative Office of the Courts, or by an employee thereof, who otherwise meets the criteria of this subdivision.
(d) “Person” means an individual, corporation, trust, association, a state or local government, or an agency or instrumentality of any of the foregoing.
(e) “Protected disclosure” means a good faith communication, including a communication based on, or when carrying out, job duties, that discloses or demonstrates an intention to disclose information that may evidence (1) an improper governmental activity, or (2) a condition that may significantly threaten the health or safety of employees or the public if the disclosure or intention to disclose was made for the purpose of remedying that condition. Protected disclosure specifically includes a good faith communication to the California State Auditor’s Office alleging an improper governmental activity and any evidence delivered to the California State Auditor’s Office in support of the allegation. “Protected disclosure” also includes, but is not limited to, a complaint made to the Commission on Judicial Performance.
(f) “State agency” is defined by Section 11000. “State agency” includes the University of California for purposes of Sections 8547.5 to 8547.7, inclusive, and Section 8547.16, and the California State University for purposes of Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive. inclusive, and Section 8547.16. Sections 8547.3 to 8547.7, inclusive, shall apply to the Supreme Court, the courts of appeal, the superior courts, and the Administrative Office of the Courts in the same manner as they apply to a state agency.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 8547.16 is added to the Government Code, to read:

8547.16.
 Any (a) A state agency that utilizes a whistleblower investigation policy separate from this article shall publicly report, in the manner in which the State Auditor is authorized to publicly report pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 8547.7, any investigation of a whistleblower complaint that has substantiated improper governmental activities.
(b) This section shall not be deemed to require the disclosure of a public record that is otherwise not required to be disclosed pursuant to any other state law, including, but not limited to, the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1).