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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Jersey Bill Bans Confidential Settlements

Taxpayers shouldn't have to sue to find out how much they are paying to settle lawsuits - lawsuits that are sometimes settled for big bucks because government officials botched their jobs.

But that's exactly what's been happening in the case of confidential settlements involving public agencies. The Press twice has gone to court - and won - to overturn the confidentiality provisions of settlements involving public agencies. Courts ruled in such cases that the public has a right to know what it's paying in settlements. But without a law, taxpayers were forced to hire a lawyer to pry these settlements open.

That unfairness would end, if a bill sponsored by state Sen. Nia H. Gill, D-Essex, Bergen, becomes law. Gill's bill, which cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, would ban confidential settlements when a public agency is involved.

More here.

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