This two-year 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, which it appeared the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Still, public health officials tried to discredit the reporting, and whistleblower complaints, even after
Both state and federal regulators concluded that the lab posed "immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety" "likely to cause serious injury or harm, or death," but CDPH didn't warn the public, or even pause testing, as problems continued .
Following these reports, lawmakers introduced legislation that was intended to transcend COVID and ensure.
Senate Bill 1271, was signed into law in 2022 and takes effect on January 1, 2023. It requires state agencies to submit the terms of proposed contract renewals for large no-bid state contracts, like PerkinElmer's, to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee for review. The Newsom administration quietly renewed PerkinElmer's no-bid contract amid ongoing state and federal investigations of the lab, even though PerkinElmer failed to fulfill its contractual obligations and was at risk of losing its license.
Senate Bill 947, The Whistleblower Protection Act, unanimously passed the State Senate but later stalled in the Assembly in 2022. It would extend whistleblower protections beyond government employees to include employees of government contractors like PerkinElmer, which was awarded a $1.7B no-bid lab contract to run the state COVID lab and subsequently sued the whistleblowers who exposed wrongdoing. Wilk's office says it is planning to reintroduce the whistleblower protection legislation in 2023.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 7, would have required legislative approval before the renewal of large no-bid state contracts. It stalled in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee and Senate Bill 1271 was introduced in its place.
The state ultimatelywith PerkinElmer.
WATCH THE CBS NEWS SACRAMENTO SPECIAL REPORT
THE COVID LAB: State Secrets Exposed
This 30 Minute Special Report followed the first 14-months of a CBS13 investigation that prompted government investigations, resulted in , and was the subject of national media coverage that shined a spotlight on hidden public health failures during the peak of the pandemic.
Each of the original daily newscast reports is linked below. For ease of navigation, you'll also find video-chapter links for the special report: THE COVID LAB: State Secrets Exposed.
- 0:00 Prologue
- 02:16 Introduction
- 03:22 CHAPTER 1 A Billion-Dollar Promise
- 07:06 CHAPTER 2: False Positives
- 12:54 CHAPTER 3: The Whistleblowers
- 18:55 CHAPTER 4: Fixing A Flawed Test
- 24:01 CHAPTER 5: State Secrets Revealed
(This report first aired on Dec 30, 2021)
STATE SECRETS: The Whistleblower Investigation
STATE SECRETS: The Troubled Test
STATE SECRETS: Continued Accountability
for more features.