South Dakota Attempts ‘Open Government’ Make-Over with New Task Force
According to an article published by Argus Leader Media, a South Dakota news source, the state will be reviewing its approach to open government and implementing a new 33-member task force to reevaluate the goals and focus behind the current open government system. The task force will be made up of government officials, media persons, and third-party representatives from varying political standings.
Tony Venhuizen, a senior adviser to South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, stated that based on the success South Dakota has seen with its open government laws and proceedings, the governor and attorney general felt it was time to establish a new task force; the first was formed in 2001. The responsibilities of the open government task force include proposing legislation, recommending changes, sharing ideas, examining cases of open-records, handling complaints, and determining exceptions to record transparency.
Open government is designed to give people access and information to government documents in an effort to educate them about their rights, laws, and decision-making abilities. The idea of an open government task force is to include all members of the state and community in government decisions, records, and public meetings.
Despite the diverse professional, educational, political, and social backgrounds of the 33 task force members, Venhuizen is confident that the final decisions of the group will lead to lasting change. Members told Argus Leader that everyone has their own area of focus when joining the task force, but that disagreement is just part of strengthening the open government system.
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