Open Government Task Force created

Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley today announced formation of an Open Government Task Force that will study open record and open meeting laws in South Dakota to ensure maximum public access to state government business.

"The workings of government should be as transparent as practicable," the governor said. "Unless there is a compelling reason otherwise, I believe government information should be open and easily accessible."

The task force includes media; city, county and state officials; representatives of various organizations; law enforcement; prosecutors; and others.

"This task force will continue work that has been done in the past decade that led to creation of the Open Meeting Commission and an open meeting statute that presumes most state government records are public," the attorney general said. "Reviewing the current process with those who deal with open records and meetings each day is invaluable and should be considered."

The Open Government Task Force will meet several times this summer and fall, and then report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and Attorney General. The initial meeting of the group will be Aug. 22, at 1 p.m. CDT, in the Capitol Lake Visitor Center at Pierre.

A likely result of the study will be legislation that would continue to improve and update open record and open meeting laws.

Members of the Open Government Task Force: Diane Best, assistant attorney general, Office of the Attorney General; Dale Blegen, publisher, De Smet News; Jim Bolin, state Representative, Canton; Dave Bordewyk, general manager, South Dakota Newspaper Association; Pat Butler, managing editor, Rapid City Journal; Jonathan Ellis, journalist, Sioux Falls Argus Leader; Jason Gant, Secretary of State; Tena Haraldson, director of communications and media relations, University of South Dakota; Joe Kafka, press secretary, Office of the Governor; Maricarrol Kueter, executive editor, Argus Leader; Shawn Lyons, executive director, South Dakota Retailers Association; Jack Marsh, president and chief operating officer, Al Neuharth Media Center, University of South Dakota; Al Novstrup, state Senator, Aberdeen; Bob O'Keefe, deputy state's attorney, Davison County; David Owen, president, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dave Pfeifle, city attorney, Sioux Falls; Wade Pogany, executive director, Associated School Boards of South Dakota; Sara Rabern, public information officer, Office of the Attorney General; Bobbi Rank, assistant attorney general, state Department of Education; Mark Roby, publisher, Watertown Public Opinion; Lisa Rothschadl, chair, South Dakota Open Meeting Commission; Greg Sattizahn, director of policy and legal services, Unified Judicial System; Yvonne Taylor, executive director, South Dakota Municipal League; Kevin Thom, sheriff, Pennington County; Seth Tupper, editor, The Daily Republic, Mitchell; Tony Venhuizen, director of policy and communications, Office of the Governor; Tim Waltner, publisher, Freeman Courier; David Wiest, deputy secretary, state Department of Revenue; Bob Wilcox, executive director, South Dakota Association of County Commissioners; Steve Willard, president, South Dakota Broadcasters Association; Susan Wismer, state Representative, Britton; Diane Worrall, executive director, South Dakota Association of Towns and Townships; Terry Woster, public information officer, state Department of Public Safety.

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