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Montana House endorses whistleblower measures

HELENA – The Montana House has given preliminary approval to two bills that add whistleblower protections to the state’s ethics code.

One of the measures by Republican Rep. Kirk Wagoner of Montana City would bar retaliation against a public employee who alleges government waste, fraud or abuse. The second measure says a public employee can file a civil lawsuit if his or her supervisor obstructs that worker from communicating with a legislator.

The original bills had created new criminal offenses for obstruction and retaliation, but they were reduced to civil actions in committee.

The House voted Friday 76-24 to approve House Bill 208, the retaliatory measure. The obstruction measure, House Bill 202, passed on a 63-37 vote.

Both bills must pass a final vote before they go to the Senate.


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