by Nancy Shack, WBZ NewsRadio1030
BOSTON, MA (WBZ NewsRadio ) —The Massachusetts State Senate voted unanimously today to ban nondisclosure agreements for it's employees. The amendment to the Senate rules was introduced by Metheun democrat Sen. Diana DiZoglio who says its a message that at least the senate side of the legislature will not be complicit in silencing victims or covering ups misdeeds using public funds. The house side of Beacon Hill has so far resisted any attempts to limit the use of such contracts.
Nondisclosure agreements are generally used in severance packages to gag the parties involved so they can't reveal publicly a specific occurrence. Non-disclosures have been in the spot light lately after being used by a number of high profile defendants in sexual harassment cases such as convicted TV star and comedian Bill Cosby, charged movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and disgraced former casino owner Steve Wynn.
DiZoglio says she was made to sign a nondisclosure agreement as a House staffer before she could receive severance pay and tried to ban their use when she became a state representative. Her proposal was rejected by members who claim the agreements can be used by victims to silence their harassers and removing the non-disclosure takes power away from them. The ban was rejected by the House 5-151. But DiZoglio lived to fight another day and has been able to convince her senate brethren that the ban is indeed in the public interest.