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Rep.Israel, Celia

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Ahead of the 87th Session, Rep. Israel Files Legislation to Protect Government Whistleblowers 
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by: Rep. Israel, Celia
11/12/2020

Austin - Today, Rep. Celia Israel (House District 50 - Austin) filed House Bill 550 to address limitations in the current Whistleblower Law. The Whistleblower Law provides certain protections to public employees who report violations of the law, typically in the form of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Currently, the law only prohibits adverse personnel action against employees who report violations to "an appropriate law enforcement authority. Therefore, whistleblowers are not protected from employer retaliation if they first report violations to supervisors or other authority figures in the workplace.

HB 550 protects state and local employees who report violations of the law to their supervisors, human resources division, and certain government staff. The bill provides governmental entities the flexibility to craft their own policy within the parameters of the law. To promote awareness of these protections, the bill requires governmental entities to notify employees of their policy and the Office of the Attorney General to display a webpage with the current law.

"We need to stand up for our employees who bravely speak out against illegal and unethical behavior in our government," Rep. Israel said. "HB 550 supports our government workers who are simply trying to do the right thing."

A majority of U.S. states already provide protection to employees who report violations to their supervisor or coworker. More than ever, we rely on whistleblowers to root out corruption and keep public officials accountable to Texas taxpayers. Expanding protections for public employees who come forward will improve oversight of Texas government.

Contact: Quynhanh Tran

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