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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmaker Introduces Whistleblower Protection Bill

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Oregon DOT

Oregon state Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, has introduced a measure that would try to protect government whistleblowers.

The bill would make it a crime for managers to retaliate against government employees who disclose information about suspected abuse of power.

It comes after a state IT manager turned over thousands of Governor John Kitzhaber’s emails to the press.

Although Kitzhaber soon left office under criminal ethics investigations, the employee would not have been protected by this measure. The bill would only prevent retaliation if the public employee turns over the information to a state regulatory agency, a law enforcement agency or a member of the legislature. The media is not included in that list.

The measure comes fairly late in the legislative session. Buehler introduced a similar bill earlier this year but it died in committee.