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Sat Feb 11, 2017, 09:28 PM

Lawmakers kill settlement secrecy bill

Governor Dennis Daugaard’s administration led the opposition Wednesday against a bill that would have barred governments from keeping dispute settlements secret without a court order.

Currently, state law allows governments negotiating settlement terms to enter into confidentiality agreements and shield details from the public, whether or not they end up in court. That was the case in 2015 when the city of Sioux Falls reached a $1 million settlement with contractors involved in the building of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

District 12 Rep. Greg Jamison (R-Sioux Falls) wants the state’s open records laws changed to require a court’s involvement before the state, counties, cities and school boards can make settlement deals secret.

But the House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 to kill House Bill 1166 after nine lobbyists representing everything from the state’s executive branch and municipal governments to the state’s retailers raised concerns over the impact the bill would have on governments’ ability to settle disputes out of court.

Read more: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/08/lawmakers-kill-settlement-secrecy-bill/97650866/

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