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Rep Ann Bollin
Rep. Bollin: Whistleblowers who report problems, suggest improvements in state government deserve protection
RELEASE|October 8, 2021
Contact: Ann Bollin

State Rep. Ann Bollin today said she will continue her efforts to make government more accountable by protecting state employees who speak up about potential problems within their departments.

Bollin this week voted in favor of a proposal that would put whistleblower protections directly into the Michigan Constitution. If the measure is eventually approved by a two-thirds votes of the Legislature, the measure could head to voters for final consideration as early as the November 2022 election.

The measure was unanimously approved by the Senate earlier this year, but the House failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote Wednesday because of Democratic opposition. The measure would prohibit a state department or agency from taking disciplinary action against employees for communicating concerns to the Legislature. The protections also would cover legislative employees who raise concerns.

Putting the protections in the Constitution would protect them from a governor’s veto. That is important because Gov. Whitmer vetoed regular legislation that would have established whistleblower protections in 2020, even though the proposal was unanimously supported by Republicans and Democrats alike in the Legislature. Whitmer supported similar protections when she was a member of the Legislature.

“Transparency, accountability and good government are ideals we should all prioritize, regardless of political affiliation,” Bollin said. “State employees are often in the best position to observe government inefficiencies and ineptitude. They should always be able to come forward with information without worrying about losing their jobs or getting reprimanded.”

The measure voted on Wednesday is consistent with legislation co-sponsored by Bollin – House Bill 4064, which was approved by a bipartisan 87-21 vote of the House in May. The legislation would create an official State Employee Ombudsman to receive and refer whistleblower complaints to appropriate administrative or law enforcement authorities while protecting the identity of state employees submitting the complaints.

House Bill 4064 is awaiting action in the Senate.

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