Open government task force has first meetingGovernor stresses need for transparency.
By: Chet Brokaw, The Daily Republic
PIERRE — Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Wednesday that South Dakota government should be as open as possible so people can find out what the state and local governments are doing.
“We think good government is transparent and open,” Daugaard said at the first meeting of a task force that will study state laws on open meetings and records.
Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley appointed the 33-member task force, which intends to recommend changes in laws dealing with open meetings and the availability of documents. The panel includes representatives of news organizations, law enforcement officials and prosecutors, and officials from cities, counties and school districts.
Daugaard said South Dakota took a big stride when the 2009 Legislature changed the law to presume that all government documents are public unless there’s a good reason to keep them secret, but he said improvements are probably needed in that law.
The Republican governor said information should not be kept confidential just because officials don’t want to defend what they’ve done.
“If we’re afraid to defend that, maybe it’s indefensible and maybe that’s a good reason it should be open,” Daugaard said.
Jackley, whose office deals mainly with the law requiring government meetings to be open and announced ahead of time, said clarifications are needed in that law.
“We oftentimes get bad cases. But for the most part I can tell you, the violations are occurring but they are unintentional,” Jackley said.