PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A bill that would bar South Dakota government officials from negotiating confidential settlements has passed out of the state Senate.
Senators voted 23-10 Thursday to send the measure to the House. Republican Sen. Arthur Rusch, the sponsor, says taxpayers have the right to know where their money is going and that the public favors transparency.
Republican Sen. Jeffrey Partridge, a bill opponent, says he struggles to see how the measure wouldn’t add costs for municipalities because they’d go to trial more often.
The bill would make settlements negotiated by public entities public records. State law currently allows state and local governments to negotiate confidential settlements, which lets payouts and misconduct be kept secret.
A similar measure passed through the Senate last year, but failed in a House committee.