JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway is calling on Republican Governor Eric Greitens to use his executive veto power on SB 43, which the Democrat from Boone County says will put state employees at risk of losing whistleblower protections.
According to a release from Galloway’s office, the legislature passed the bill during the marathon run-up to the end of the 2017 legislative session.
“This legislation makes it easier for government to operate in the shadows. Employees must be able to raise concerns without fear of losing their jobs,” Galloway said in the news release.
She argues that if the legislation is enacted by the swipe of a pen from Gov. Greitens, state employees could be at risk for major blow-back if they feel the need to disclose information which could aid state officials in “uncovering wasteful, improper or illegal uses of taxpayer dollars.”
Galloway went on to say in the release, “Compromising long-standing whistleblower protections increases the threat of retaliation and fosters an environment of intimidation for those who report wrongdoing.”
The passage of the controversial bill came on the heels of the State Senate refusing to take up a vote on ethics reform, an issue that Missouri voters indicated by a 3:1 margin in the 2016 election is one that is important to them.
The move by the legislature is being seen by some detractors, including Galloway, as unethical.
Supporters of the bill say the protections will help Missouri businesses and state organizations avoid what they may consider to be frivilous lawsuits by adjusting bill language to change the definition of ‘protected persons’ who would have security when reporting illegal or nefarious activities at their place of employment.