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Effort to add whistleblower protections fails to pass state House

The exterior of the Michigan Capitol building
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Capitol building in Lansing

A proposed whistleblower protection amendment to the Michigan constitution has hit a roadblock. The House of Representatives on Wednesday failed to adopt a resolution to bring it before voters in November of next year.

The measure would prevent any state agency or department from punishing an employee for speaking with a member of the legislature.

Republican state Representative Steven Johnson chairs the House Oversight committee. He says the constitutional amendment had received wide bipartisan support.

"Every Republican and every Democrat that’s on that committee voted in favor. Every Republican and Democrat in the Senate voted in favor."

But House Democrats, including House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski, expressed concerns about implications the amendment could have on collective bargaining.

"It will cause chaos in long-standing relationships, procedures, grievances, how folks come forward and the processes we use to resolve those grievances and conflicts."

Lasinski says the amendment as written would override portions of the civil service code.

The resolution needed a two-thirds majority to go before voters in November next year.

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