MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that would apply whistleblower protections to county and municipal workers who testify to misdeeds within a local government body. 

House Bill 121 (HB121), sponsored by State Rep. Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills), passed the House unanimously.  

"The supervisor of an employee may not discharge, demote, transfer, or otherwise take an adverse employment action against the employee in retaliation for reporting to a public body, under oath or in the form of an affidavit, a violation of a law, a regulation, or a rule," the bill states.

Carns told the House body that multiple instances of retaliation were reported in Jefferson County, and the bill would provide the same protections to local employees that were already offered to state workers.

"When people find things that are not going correctly, they've been going through the proper channels, taking it to the personnel board under oath and giving the personnel board the problems that they have seen that need correcting. In numerous cases recently, the people who have been the whistleblowers have been getting repercussions from their supervisors. So this bill is strictly to protect the whistleblower in the counties and cities around the state, it's strictly for that," Carns said.

State Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Demopolis) asked if the bill would protect an employee from perjury charges for making a false statement under oath.

"They're doing it under oath," Carns replied. "And if they turn out that they're not telling the truth, they would be responsible for their statement that was under oath that was false."

HB121 will now go to the Senate for deliberation, where it must pass before becoming law.

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