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N.J. Senate to vote on disclosure bill to end secret settlements

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  1. Freedom of Information
Editor's note (5/22): The New Jersey Senate Bill regarding confidential settlement agreements was not inspired solely by the parole board…

Editor’s note (5/22): The New Jersey Senate Bill regarding confidential settlement agreements was not inspired solely by the parole board case. Sen. Nia H. Gill proposed the bill to correct the larger problem of secret settlements within New Jersey state government.

The New Jersey Senate is expected to vote on a measure Thursday that would ensure that “public entities” in the state could not enter into confidential agreements to settle claims to which the entity or the entity’s employee is a party.

State Sen. Nia H. Gill (D) sponsored the legislation in February. The bill, which passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee May 15, was inspired after details of a settlement agreement reached between the state and the former director of the state parole board were sealed through a confidentiality provision. The parole board director had allegedly been fired after he publicly claimed that a top aide to then-Gov. James McGreevey had intervened in the parole hearing of a reputed mob figure.

The bill would make exceptions for matters involving national security. Identifying information relating to the victims of sex crimes and child abuse would also be withheld under the new law.