Noem calls for greater South Dakota government transparency

March 6, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem on Tuesday called for greater transparency in South Dakota government as she runs for governor this year.

Noem unveiled what she called her Sunshine Initiative. She said that if elected governor, she would work to “throw open the doors” not only at the state Capitol, but also would encourage county commissions and school boards to give South Dakotans greater access to how government decisions are made.

“Remember, your state government should be serving you, and that really is my goal,” Noem said in a Facebook Live event.

Among Noem’s proposals is using free technologies such as YouTube to bring meetings “into every home.” She also wants a more modernized and easily searchable Open.SD.gov website and a property tax toolkit that would allow taxpayers to see where their money goes.

Noem also said she supports a “common sense” reporter shield law, limiting the state’s ability to negotiate confidential settlements unless necessary to protect a victim’s privacy, and a review of existing open meeting laws.

While government bodies may need to go into executive session to discuss hiring or firing personnel, those sessions should not be used to hide budget discussions, Noem said in her initiative.

Noem said that while crossing the state, she hears people questioning whether state government is accountable.

“These proposals would make sure that voters can believe it truly is,” she said.

Two other candidates for governor, Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton and Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley, also support increased government transparency and have committed to supporting legislation that would give the public access to additional government records including officials’ correspondence.

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