Bill proposes new state hiring, firing practices

A bill that would make sweeping changes in some state government practices has been backed by a legislative panel.

The Senate Government Oversight Committee proposed the bill Tuesday, and a subcommittee later approved it. The legislation now goes to full committee Wednesday.

The bill would make personnel settlement agreements subject to review by the attorney general, prohibit confidentiality provisions, and post all agreements on a state website. It also would revise state hiring and firing practices.

The state auditor would be charged with conducting an examination of all settlement agreements issued since Gov. Terry Branstad began his current term. New whistleblower protections would be implemented for state workers reporting abuse of authority or other issues.

Democratic Sen. Janet Petersen, who chairs the committee, says a clarifying amendment will be drafted.