Cash-strapped states see whistleblowers as assets in fighting waste and fraud. New Mexico takes action. GOP-run Arizona does nothing.
SANTA FE -- During the past 12 months, ten states have measurably improved legal protections for state employees who blow the whistle, according to a new analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Many states now afford their employees stronger statutory shields than those covering federal workers, as a continuing Congressional stalemate has stalled federal whistleblower reform legislation for more than a decade.
The most dramatic changes came in two states, New Mexico and Vermont, which previously had the two weakest laws in the country. As a result of comprehensive legislation enacted in recent months, New Mexico now has the 4th strongest and Vermont, the 6th strongest, according to a rating scale devised by PEER. The other eight states making substantive expansions of whistleblower coverage in the past 12 months include Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Utah (these latter two states, however, still have among the weakest laws overall).
Read today's full news release from PEER