By Governor Daugaard
I strongly believe that the workings of government should be as transparent as possible. Throughout my time in office, I have operated under that principle and have done a number of things to increase the openness of state government. We have released invitation lists, opened the Governor's Mansion and Valhalla to tours, and put more information than ever online. I've asked boards and commissions to post meeting minutes online and hold meetings in places which are accessible physically and via the internet.
Last year, the Attorney General and I convened the Open Government Task Force. Media members and state and local officials met to discuss how to improve our open record and open meeting laws, and a number of bills were introduced last legislative session as the result of that task force.
Even when information is open, however, it isn't very useful when it cannot be easily accessed. Putting information online, in one location, with appropriate explanation, allows the public to participate in government at a higher level.
The state took an important step in that direction last Tuesday with the launch of a new administrative rules website: rules.sd.gov. In South Dakota, the Legislature can authorize state agencies to pass administrative rules. Rules put "meat on the bones" and have the force of law. This new website provides a practical way for South Dakotans to read proposed rules and give input. The rule-making process can be confusing, but this site will make it much easier for citizens to track and to comment on proposed rules.
In our state constitution, the South Dakota Bill of Rights states, "All political power is inherent in the people, and all free government is founded on their authority, and is instituted for their equal protection and benefit."
As South Dakota citizens, you deserve the opportunity to know about and participate in your government.