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OUR VIEW: New site is positive step toward openness

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opinion Mitchell,South Dakota 57301 http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/MDR%20logo%20hi%20res_39.jpg?itok=N8BPLLWJ
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OUR VIEW: New site is positive step toward openness
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Gov. Dennis Daugaard bolstered his open-government resume this week with the unveiling of a new website, rules.sd.gov.

It’s not an earth-shattering development. The site, which provides a place for the public to learn about, track and comment on the rules developed by state government offices, is not likely to become one of the world’s most popular Internet destinations.

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But it does pry the door of state government open slightly more, and it will be useful in targeted instances to people who have specific business with state government or have high interest in a particular issue, like the ongoing controversy over the rules governing raw milk.

And it’s another step toward getting more government information online, which South Dakota has been too slow to do. It’s 2013, after all. We have to wonder why the state’s administrative rules weren’t placed on a website years ago.

Still, that doesn’t detract from the praise Daugaard’s administration deserves for making the website available. Like many politicians, he talked about government openness when he ran for office. Unlike many politicians, he’s actually done something about it. We’ve noticed it not only with this new website, but also in the governor’s appointment of an open-government task force, his office’s openness to and earnestness in fulfilling requests for information, and more.

That doesn’t mean the goal of transparency has been achieved and can be crossed off the governor’s list. The march toward greater public access to government information and meetings is a never-ending one. The effort and progress should never stop.

For now, though, we say congratulations to the governor for making government a little more open, and we urge him to keep at it.

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