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Politics and Government

Democrats on Colorado legislative panel kill GOP-backed bill to reduce state employees’ use of nondisclosure agreements

Republican Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer's bill would have barred state employees from abiding by nondisclosure and so-called non-disparagement agreements — with exceptions for employee privacy, federal or state rules requiring nondisclosure and security reasons

A Democrat-led Senate panel has killed a bill that would reduce the use among state employees of nondisclosure agreements. The bill’s Republican backers say public servants’ actions on the job should be transparent.

Colorado Politics reports that Republican Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer’s bill would have barred state employees from abiding by nondisclosure and so-called non-disparagement agreements — with exceptions for employee privacy, federal or state rules requiring nondisclosure and security reasons.

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“A government employee should not be allowed to have their speech silenced,” Kirkmeyer told the Judiciary Committee Thursday before it voted down the bill, which was supported by the Colorado Broadcasters Association.

In February, the state Supreme Court asked other branches of government to help investigate allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment in the Judicial Department and whether a contract was given to a former employee to prevent the employee from revealing them.

Committee chair Sen. Pete Lee expressed concern about protecting state trade secrets, business details and personal financial information under the bill, which was rejected along a party-line vote.

“Senate Democrats voted to further preserve secrecy in government,” Kirkmeyer said in a statement issued by Senate Republicans. “Coloradans have a right to know what public employees are doing and what their government is up to.”