DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawmakers in the Iowa House say they want to further establish government transparency and openness in the light of secret settlement agreements between state agencies and fired employees.
While debating a budget bill for agriculture and natural resources Wednesday, the House adopted an amendment to prevent money appropriated in the bill from being used for payments in such settlement agreements. Iowa's Department of Natural Resources participated in these payments to former employees.
Rep. Chris Hall, a Sioux City Democrat, says the amendment is an effort to keep taxpayer dollars from being used for settlements.
Republican Rep. Matt Windschitl, of Missouri Valley, says he supported the motion, though he says Gov. Terry Branstad already addressed the issue with an executive order prohibiting state agencies from signing confidential settlement agreements.