For Immediate Release – March 27, 2019 Contact: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director National Freedom of Information Coalition firstname.lastname@example.org 352-294-7082 Four state open government champions to be inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Open Government Hall of Fame Four “Heroes of the 50 States” — representing California, Georgia, South Dakota and […]
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley last week announced a list of measures he is asking the Legislature to pass this session. While all are important, there was one that stood out to us: making criminal booking photographs part of the public record.
You know them as “mug shots.”
Whenever anybody is arrested for a crime, law enforcement agencies take a photograph of the accused.
The state’s highest court is considering whether criminal defendants should be able to see the disciplinary records of law enforcement officers who arrested them.
The South Dakota Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in Vermillion in a case involving Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office personnel records. Continue…
Honesty, decency and forthrightness are among the values that define South Dakotans. Another core value is a fundamental belief in the public’s right to know about their government. South Dakotans believe the public’s business should be conducted in public view.
That principle in government transparency is embedded in South Dakota’s open meetings laws, which date back more than a half century and direct state and local government boards on how they should conduct business in public.
The Minnehaha County Commission Tuesday appointed a panel to review the county's election procedures, and after some debate commissioners decided the group's meetings should be open to the public.
They didn't have to be, the commission's assistant department head Robert Wilson told commissioners. Because the committee has no statutory authority, its proceedings do not fall under the state open meeting law. Only the final report it delivers to the commission is a public document, Wilson said.
Open government is a constant theme in South Dakota, for both good strides and glaring omissions.
Last month, the South Dakota Newspaper Association sent open government surveys to all legislative and statewide candidates, except those running for U.S. House and Senate. Of 182 surveys sent, about 105 were returned, according to the association.
Conceal Food Stamp Data
A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture cannot keep secret the amount retailers receive for participating in the food stamp program (SNAP).
The case began when the Argus Leader, a South Dakota newspaper, filed a Freedom of Information request about businesses enrolled in the food stamp program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture initially denied the newspaper’s request, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently claimed that the department must comply with the request.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has pledged to make state government more open to the public and last year his Open Government Task Force submitted eight bills in the 2013 legislative session. The Legislature rejected five of the proposed laws.
One of the proposed laws was one that would make police logs and criminal booking photos public. Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-S.D., has introduced a revised bill this year that would change state law to require law enforcement agencies to release police logs to the public.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley will not reprise last year’s largely ineffective efforts to increase public access to government records.
South Dakota lawmakers shot down five of the eight open government bills Daugaard and Jackley presented with help from a summer work group last year, including what would have been the most significant reforms. This year, neither man has those failed bills on his legislative agenda.
From Rapid City Journal: When Rapid City school officials heard of the dust-up over the Pledge of Allegiance in Sioux Falls, they decided to get out in front of the issue. They had an informal chat among board members, and without any public input or discussion, approved a change in practice by adding the pledge to the beginning of every student's school day.
But the change did not sit well with some freedom of information advocates.