SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The “Whistleblower Protection Act” unanimously passed out of the Senate Committee on Judiciary Tuesday, and now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It is one of two pieces of legislation that were introduced by State Senator Scott Wilk in response to CBS13’s year-long investigation into the state’s troubled COVID-19 testing lab.


WATCH THE CBS NEWS SACRAMENTO
SPECIAL REPORT

THE COVID LAB: State Secrets Exposed


The investigation gave a voice to brave whistleblowers who risked their careers in the interest of public health and it shined a spotlight on shocking public health failures that it appeared the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) tried to hide.

In response, Wilk introduced two pieces of legislation that transcend COVID and are intended to ensure accountability and transparency long after the pandemic is over.

The first, Constitutional Amendment (SCA 7), would require approval from the legislature before a no-bid state contract of more than $25 million could be renewed.

The Newsom administration quietly renewed PerkinElmer’s no-bid contract amid ongoing state and federal investigations of the lab, despite the fact that the lab consistently failed to meet contract requirements including 48-hour testing turnaround times.

The state recently terminated that contract. 

Wilk also introduced the Whistleblower Protection Act. SB 947 would extend whistleblower protections for employees of government contractors like PerkinElmer, which was given a $1.7 billion-dollar no-bid lab contract and then sued one whistleblower who reported wrongdoing and threatened to sue others.

Senate Bill 947 (SB 947) has been endorsed by the National Whistleblower Center and was passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to Wilk’s office, the bill moves on to the Senate Governmental Organization Committee next week.

(SB947 was originally scheduled to be heard in Senate Appropriations next week. This story was updated to reflect the new committee assignment.)

 


FOLLOW OUR CONTINUING COVERAGE:

CBS13 INVESTIGATES “THE COVID LAB”


The Whistleblower Investigation

Asleep At the Lab: Whistleblower Allegations From Inside CA’s Billion-Dollar COVID Lab

 

CA’s Billion-Dollar COVID Testing Lab Under Investigation Following CBS13 Whistleblower Report

 

Questionable COVID Results – More Concerning Whistleblower Allegations From State COVID Lab

 

PerkinElmer Sues Whistleblower After Allegations About Troubled CA COVID Testing Lab

 

Regulators Find ‘Significant Deficiencies’ At CA COVID Testing Lab – Whistleblowers Respond

 

The Troubled Test

State COVID Test Not FDA Authorized

 

 

Same COVID Test, Different Results: FDA Looking Into State Lab ‘Test Result Concerns’

 

CBS13 Investigates: Should Rapid Test Be Used To Test School Athletes?

 

Delayed School COVID Results, Canceled Games and Contamination Concerns 

 

Are False Positives or Sensitive Tests Responsible For School COVID Spikes? 

 

CA COVID LAB Returns Fewer Than 1 Out Of 5 Results Within Required 48hrs During Omicron Surge

 

Continued Accountability

Continued Accountability: Delayed Investigation Report, Denied Interview Requests 

 

Lawmakers Demand Answers –What’s CDPH Hiding At The $1.7B COVID Testing Lab? 

 

Theranos Trial Reveals Details of Federal Investigation at Troubled CA COVID Lab, No-Bid Contract Renewed

 

State Inspections Confirm Whistleblower Allegations At Troubled California COVID Lab

 

Lab Experts Criticize State’s Response To Risk Of ‘Serious Injury, Harm or Death’ At CA COVID Testing Lab

 

Julie Watts