Posted: 6:00 am Friday, August 29th, 2014

Democrats to press for stronger whistleblower protections next year 

By Greg Bluestein

 

State Sen. Vincent Fort at the chamber's Democratic caucus meeting. Courtesy Senate Democrats.

State Sen. Vincent Fort at the chamber’s Democratic caucus meeting. Courtesy Senate Democrats

Gov. Nathan Deal’s talk of changing Georgia’s whistleblower law has led state Democrats to come up with a sweeping counterproposal.

The Senate Democratic Caucus met in Newnan Thursday to approve its 2015 legislative agenda, and sent us word that a key part of the package is a proposal that would give public employees broader leeway to file whistleblower complaints.

The governor in May suggested he wanted to more narrowly define who can file those types of complaints. He said he was concerned about a state Supreme Court ruling that automatically granted whistleblower status to government employees charged with investigating state agencies and employees.

 

Democrats pounced on the comments back then, and Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson said Thursday the governor’s push hasn’t been forgotten.

“We simply cannot restore citizen trust and confidence in government if we seek to hide from our actions or suppress information,” said Henson, a Tucker Democrat. “Employees cannot fear retaliation if they bring to light information of wrongdoing.

Republicans hold commanding majorities in both chambers, and any item on their legislative agenda is automatically a long-shot. But party leaders hope a victory by Democrat Jason Carter in November could help their chances of pushing through their top priorities.

Under the proposal, public employees would be required to disclose a violation to their superior and at least one law enforcement agency. If no action is taken within 60 days, and there’s a reasonable belief that the violation is still ongoing, the employee could disclose information to the media or others and still be protected under the whistleblower law.

A second prong seeks to give reporters added protection from being compelled to testify in some court proceedings. It would tighten Georgia’s shield law to block courts from requiring reporters to disclose sources except in limited circumstances, such as if the details involved an ongoing crime or fraud.

Senate Minority Whip Vincent Fort invoked the whistleblower lawsuits targeting the ethics agency’s handling of complaints stemming from Deal’s 2010 campaign.

“The ongoing scandal in the Deal administration has shown us that whistle blowers need more protections,” he said. “This legislation will provide that, so that the public will be assured that corruption will be uncovered.”
54 comments
sickofobama
sickofobama

THE AMERICAN DREAM IS GONE. Glad you love obama! Because he is about to give everything to ILLEGALS AND PUSH ASIDE DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICANS! IF YOUR POOR YOUR ABOUT TO POORER! The american dreams goes to illegals! THEY COME FIRST!

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@EdUktr Graffiti is illegal so a a law abiding citizen put away your spray paint and stop defacing AJC blog's with your polls.

HueyMahl
HueyMahl

EdUktr needs to complete his EdUkation so he can understand the difference between a poll and a newspaper making a prediction.  (hint - no newspaper has made a prediction yet).

EdUktr
EdUktr


HueyMahl is a fraud posting phony poll numbers because he can't find a single newspaper predicting a Carter victory in November.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

They need to budget more for the payouts caused by Deal,  millions....he's a thug

honested
honested

Improvements in governmental transparency through stronger whistle-blower laws should pass unanimously.

Those voting against greater truth and legal behavior do not deserve initial election or re-election.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Long overdue.  Another reason to vote for the Democrats.

Single party rule, by either party in Georgia, is a mistake.  Politicians here can't seem to keep their hands out of the cookie jar.

peewilly
peewilly

Oh Goody, more Lawsuits.

Soon there will be Whistle Blower Billboard's for attorney's.

Want that be special?


@Ralphie...Your dreaming again, WAKE UP.


DanLovingood
DanLovingood

@sickofobama I hope Obama effects Immigration Reform via the most broad- sweeping Executive Orders possible, in just the way Abraham Lincoln did signing the Emancipation Proclamation, an Executive Order that freed 3 million black slaves.  Granting citizenship to the DREAMer youths alone would cause an immediate $335,000,000 boost to the US economy, regardless of what you miscreant, bone-headed, fake christian, racist, bigoted, hypocrite Republicans have lied to yourselves to believe.  I realize simple economic math is beyond most Republican voters just the way love for fellow mankind is foreign.   Humans are not illegal. Undocumented status came about via the mean-spirited laws passed when GOP took the Congress in 2010 and so have the most economically damaging obstruction in US history.  You should be ashamed of your immorality!

EdUktr
EdUktr

@StraightNoChaser @EdUktr

It's ANALYSIS not polls. If you have a dispute with HuffPost, Real Clear Politics or the New York Times about their analyses—why not take it up with them?

ref: http://tinyurl.com/ke8bb64

EdUktr
EdUktr

@OldEngineer

Does it include the union political cash from workers in other states forced to join up to keep their jobs?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Jefferson1776 You know that "thug" is already reserved by Republicans as code-word for "black people", right?

td1234
td1234

@honested The first paragraph in the new law should be whistle-blowers can NOT sue except for for actual damages. Being a whistle-blower  can not be a pay day for a government employee.

honested
honested

@EdUktr 

Why is this tiny, imaginary lead so important to you?

Does this ease the rapidly approaching reality you must face in November?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@EdUktr Why Ed? Because Repubs have no ethics, or do not know what it is?


Please enlighten us! And leave the poll results out of it. Please!

honested
honested

@CherokeeCounty 

Of course, with the crooks having jumped ship into the majority party, there is a wonderful chance to start with a clean slate when the inevitable shift of control occurs.

honested
honested

@peewilly 

Or, all State Employees and Elected Officials could show the decency to follow the LAW.

I realize what a challenge it is for republiklans (their whole concept of freedom being based on never being told no by anybody), but if you don't want to follow the law, go into property development or insurance or some other 'profession' known for it's incivility.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@EdUktr Ok stop littering AJC blogs with your analysis.  All better now?  Littering is illegal too.

HueyMahl
HueyMahl

@EdUktr


Not bogus Eddie -  just includes the polls from 2014.  Your version has them going all the way back to the beginning of time. Which is more credible?

honested
honested

@EdUktr 

Face it old man, the 'union' cash is dwarfed by the plutocrats dark money.

Will you guys keep your head in the sand about this until we are all reduced to serfdom?

DanLovingood
DanLovingood

@td1234 @honested Well, well,, well.. here you are again... or shouldn't we call you "Koch Troll Team td1234"? Your presence here is 24/7 which makes you a Troll with ZERO credibility. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

A whistleblower has almost always already lost their job.

If they are not viewed as a 'team player' (unapologetic paid liar) they won't get another job except in a well run, Democratically owned company.

Do you want people to starve because they place proper behavior above profit?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@td1234 You mean like loss of job, loss of specific future income, loss of potential job income in the future because who wants to hire a whistleblower, and the libel you end up going thru at the hands of anonymous blog trolls when you whistleblow against their tribe?  Those actual damages?

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@td1234 @honested unworkable. the money is the incentive to go through the process - a rather unforgiving one if you are actually whistleblowing about something worthwhile. most people wouldn't bother.

honested
honested

@RoadScholar @EdUktr 

Issues don't matter to the little feller.

Just illusions supporting the pretense that the public is happy with a crooked State regime.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@StraightNoChaser

The analyses change daily, and readers not wedded to the Democrat Party (like Jim Galloway and a handful of you liberal trolls) are interested in seeing them.

Georgia is, after all, a majority Republican state.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@HueyMahl @EdUktr

A outlier poll that few take seriously, yet which Huffington Post and Real Clear Politics both include in their analysis ... while still showing Deal and Perdue leading by 3-4 points each.

Why not face up to the fact Carter and Nunn are behind?

EdUktr
EdUktr

@HueyMahl @EdUktr

B.S.! 

td1234
td1234

@ByteMe If they are ruled a whistle blower then they get their job back with back pay and then retribution by the employer is then a criminal offense. Anything else taints how believable what they bring forward.  

td1234
td1234

@consumedconsumer If that is the case then how can the public have much confidence in what the whistleblower is actually bring forth because we know people will do anything for the money. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested @peewilly 

I did refer to elected officials as well.

Which party has had the greatest ethical lapses among elected officials in the last 12 years?

As the one of the two of us who is not guided by 'voices' I resent the 'delusional' slur.

HueyMahl
HueyMahl

@EdUktr Nunn is behind.  Cart and Deal are tied, with the big mo going in Carter's direction. 


The poll is not an outlier, as you well know. I used to think you were just mindlessly posting and did not really understand the underlying analysis of what the polls mean.  But I may be wrong.  It looks like you do have a clue but are purposefully misleading in your posts.


BTW, neither is doing any real analysis.  All they are doing is following a mechanical formula.  They are a "poll of polls" without any intelligence behind the aggregation.

HueyMahl
HueyMahl

@td1234 @consumedconsumer Rooting out bias and credibility is exactly what the judicial system and the jury process is designed for.  ConsumedConsumer is right - if you want third-parties to risk the cost of a wistle-blower trial, you have to give them an economic incentive.  Those things cost $100s of thousands to prosecute.  

EdUktr
EdUktr

@HueyMahl @EdUktr

Sometimes less is more, in describing idiots foisting their own bogus figures.