One of the tools legislators have to promote the values of Iowans is called a “point of personal privilege.” A point of personal privilege is an opportunity at the end of a day in the House to speak about any issue I want. My experience is that opportunities to speak like this should be used sparingly. On Monday I took advantage of this opportunity for the first time in four years, and I used my time to speak about state funding to the University of Northern Iowa. Below is the video of that point of personal privilege. Let me know your thoughts.
House Passes Government Transparency Bill Banning Confidential Settlements
On Monday night, the Iowa House passed House File 2462, a bill which bans confidentiality/nondisclosure clauses in personnel settlement agreements. In addition, the bill will disclose the reason and rationale that a public employee was fired, allowed to resign in lieu of being terminated, or demoted. The bill opens state government up to more sunshine, making it more accountable to the people of Iowa.
House Democrats argued that the bill was unnecessary, as the state already has a law on the books that bans these types of confidentiality clauses. But the facts would beg to differ, as settlement agreements using such nondisclosure clauses have surface from each of the past three administrations. When all was said and done, 35 Democrats voted against transparency in state government, while 10 of their colleagues joined with all 53 members of the House Republican caucus.
This bill is a step in the right direction in shedding sunlight on an embedded practice in state government. Since the Vilsack administration at least 37 settlements have included confidentiality provisions. House File 2462 seeks to put an end to this practice.
I have been an advocate for government transparency and I am proud to advance this bill. I hope the Senate will also advance it to the Governor’s desk.