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Internet shines light on SD government

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By Bob Mercer

Capitol Correspondent

PIERRE -- Three state government offices made notable advances this summer in placing more information on the Internet for public viewing. The most recent came Friday.

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Production and ownership data for every known oil and gas well in South Dakota is now on the website for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The site has many interactive functions.

DENR Secretary Steve Pirner described the "painstaking detail work" by state geologists to put all of the information into place.

The same department has been a recent leader in transparency by placing all of its public notices and related applications and comments at a one-stop website.

Secretary of State Jason Gant, who made much headway quickly on his website after taking office in 2011, recently updated his office's online listing of governor actions such as executive orders, proclamations and extradition orders.

The site now has a search function that makes it simpler to find items.

The state Department of Labor and Regulation this summer began posting on a website the results of insurance companies' market-conduct examinations.

Spokeswoman Dawn Dovre said the examination reports were always available to the public upon request. She said Labor Secretary Pam Roberts decided they should be posted on the department's website for open access.

Last year, the department began posting administrative actions taken against insurance companies and agents. Those became available via the Internet on July 1, 2012.

Roberts made that change for easier access for the public and regulators.

"The change also freed up staff time by allowing interested parties to be referred to the website for all future actions," Dovre said.

She added, "Publication, especially to the Internet, is a national trend among insurance regulators."

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