Brave Legislators?

The Argus Leader’s Randell Beck, of fake editorial fame, is patting several in our legislature on the back this morning because they are working to open our state government.

That our Legislature would seriously debate the extent to which the inner workings of government should be transparent is a victory for those who have long believed that accountability in a democracy must be measured by the level to which the average citizen – not journalists, or a favored few – has access to the halls of power.

For that we can thank a few lawmakers courageous enough to champion change – slow but steady, in the case of Sen. David Knudson and Rep. Larry Rhoden; fast and dramatic, in the case of Sen. Nancy Turbak Berry.

Is it really that brave for these few to be working on something that should have long since been fixed? But then again considering our elected officials seem to be quite happy at being last in everything, maybe this is somewhat courageous…

UPDATE: And while Beck is patting some on the back, others in Pierre are stabbing us in the back.

PIERRE — A South Dakota Senate committee has endorsed a proposal that would allow members of a state or local government board to attend the meeting of another government board without giving public notice. The Local Government Committee voted to send the bill to the full Senate for further debate.

The state’s open meetings law requires that state and local boards, commissions and other agencies must give public notice 24 hours before holding a meeting.

SB199 would provide that when members of a board attend the meeting of another board to observe or to provide information, they would not have to provide public notice.

RCJ’s Typos and Tribulations.

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Another No Kidding Headline

The recently re-designed Rapid City Journal has another in a growing number of no kidding headlines from an AP story yesterday:

Rounds: Pheasant hunt not hurt by controversy

Now one should probably be asking themselves how exactly would this super secret South Dakota “good ole boys get together” hosted by our governor be hurt? Yes the Argus Leader fought to have the names released but once the State Supreme Court said that the names of those attending didn’t have to be released you would think that it would have actually helped the hunt. Attendee’s worried about staying anonymous now have a court order saying they can, which if anything would likely bring more business leaders that never planned on moving here but saying they are just to get a nice pheasant hunting vacation. Now they can come without fear of being exposed.

Even though attendee names are considered “Top Secret”, it sure would be interesting to find out a few statistics from past hunts. I know some of this has been mentioned at different times when a new business moves to the area but has the total number of businesses that actually moved to South Dakota as a result of our governor sponsored networking “hunt” ever been released? How about how many people have attended these hunts? If we don’t have the “clearance” to know the attendee’s, we should at least know how successful they are, it is an official work product of a state agency after all which by some accounts, other than that of our State Supreme Court, would fall under a requirement for open government…

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