Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Rob Kane and John Geragosian, the two Auditors of Public Accounts (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — The Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would change how non-disclosure agreements work for state agencies and quasi-public agencies.

Sen. Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield, said the reason for the bill is the number of non-disclosure agreements that were brought to light by the Auditors of Public Accounts.

In 2016, the Auditors reported that many payments to employees who departed state service were in excess of $100,000 and included non-disparagement agreements.

The legislation the Senate sent to the House Tuesday would require state agencies and quasi-public agencies to have the Attorney General’s office review any non-disclosure agreements that include payments greater than $50,000.

“The ones that raised concerns were the ones that were in excess of $50,000,” Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said.

Doyle said there’s a moral obligation to seek the approval of the attorney general for any non-disclosure agreement that exceeds $50,000.

“What if they flout the law and its never given to attorney general’s office for review?” Kissel asked.

“There’s no explicit penalty for the agencies,” Doyle said. “Traditionally, we don’t penalize our own agencies.”

Doyle said this is simply a policy statement and a shift in state policy regarding these agreements.

Kissel said it was a “common sense” bill.

“We need the light of day shining on these agencies,” Kissel added.

The Senate also amended SB 175 to comply with the new language regarding the $50,000 threshold for reviews of non-disclosure agreements. That bill also passed on consent and would give the Auditors of Public Accounts greater ability to immediately report misuse of state funds and changes various reporting periods.