Bullock vetoes protection for state whistleblowers

Helena – Governor Steve Bullock vetoed House Bill 202 which would have provided new protections for state employee whistleblowers.

The bill sponsored by Representative Kirk Wagoner passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. It would add new protections for public employees who report “matters of public concern” to the legislature.

In a press release Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen criticized Gov. Bullock’s decision to veto the bill.

“We’ve heard accounts of public employees being retaliated against because they chose to speak out about waste or abuse within agencies and it’s incredibly disappointing that Governor Bullock turned his back on workers while allowing protections for retaliation to continue. It’s telling that this veto came while the Legislature was out of town, but the Governor has another chance to protect the rights of workers and that’s HB 208 which I hope he will swiftly sign into law,” Knudsen stated.

The other whistleblower bill, House Bill 208, also introduced by Rep. Wagoner is slated for action in the Senate Judiciary committee later this week. It would provide protection against retaliation of state employees who report waste, fraud or abuse within a state agency.