South Dakota gov announces transparency initiative, regulatory review

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard is looking to make government more transparent. At an event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota yesterday, the Governor announced his “Better Government Initiative,” which aims to provide more information to the public about the activities of the state government and also seeks to eliminate what the governor calls unnecessary rules and regulations.

According to Governor Daugaard South Dakota is plagued with redundant or inefficient rules and regulations which add needless red tape to government processes. Through his initiative, implemented quietly in January, the Governor is working with state agencies to determine which rules and regulations can be repealed or removed entirely from the state code. The Governor claims that he has already identified over 300 sections of state law that can be removed or repealed through this process.

In addition to reviewing statute, the Governor is also working to put more information online. Additional data sets are now available on the state’s open government website and visitor logs to the Governors event and Valhalla guest house will be made available. Public meeting minutes will also be placed online.

The Governor is also calling for significant updates to the state website in order to make services and information easier to find.

The initiative has drawn some skepticism from other state government officials who note that while the initiative is an overall positive move, it does not address problems in the state’s open meetings rules. Critics argue that these rules are too vague and are being used to deny public access to records of the state’s business.

“My goal is to create a culture in state government that is centered around the citizens, the voters, the taxpayers we serve,” Daugaard said. “By constantly striving to cut red tape, to be more open and to put more online, we are creating a state government that is a better steward of tax dollars and a better servant of our people.”

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