Iowa House OKs bill forbidding secret settlements

A bill that would open state employee records to the public and put into law Gov. Terry Branstad's executive order prohibiting confidential settlement agreements has won the support of a divided Iowa House.

The Republican-controlled House voted 63-35 Monday in favor of the legislation. It now goes to the Democratic-majority Senate, where its fate is unclear.

The bill would forbid the use of confidentiality provisions and secret payments in settlement agreements between employees within the executive branch and the state. These agreements would be made accessible to the public online, along with termination or disciplinary action documents.

Republican lawmakers say the intent is to increase government transparency. House Democrats say the bill is a premature response to the settlement issue.

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