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Iowa House Committee Approves Bill Banning Secret Settlements

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill intended to codify Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's executive order prohibiting state agencies from signing confidential settlement agreements has won the support of a divided legislative panel.

The House Government Oversight Committee voted 5-4 on Wednesday, with Republicans in favor and Democrats against the measure.

The bill as approved would prohibit confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements between state agencies and fired employees. Several amendments to the legislation are expected on the floor.

Rep. Kevin Koester, an Ankeny Republican who chairs the committee, has said he's open to changes to the bill.

House Democrats say they oppose the measure because lawmakers need to understand the settlement issue better before passing legislation.

The legislation is now eligible for floor debate as early as Monday.

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