Legislators support open government

There is growing concern for open government among several legislators. It looks like the Sioux Falls school district is trying to play semantics with the current open records law when they release employment contracts of all employees except superintendent Pam Homan. The intent of the law is certainly clear, and senate sponsor of the existing law Al Novstrup is glad to clear up any doubt.

In last Sunday’s Argus Leader:

Sen. Al Novstrup

Sen. Al Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, was the lead sponsor on legislation last session that created a financial penalty for public entities that act in bad faith by denying access to public records. He said he intends to bring another bill next year that would make it clear that school administrators’ contracts are public.
Novstrup called the Sioux Falls decision “outrageous.”
“They’re saying, ‘We are spending the taxpayers’ money in a way that we don’t want you to know,’ ” he said. “We’re still not to the point where the elected official or the bureaucrat understands that the citizens own the government.”

Earlier this month, Governor Dennis Daugaard stated in this Argus Leader story that he would sign legislation.

?Every public employee contract should be an open record, and I would sign legislation to make that very clear,? the governor said via Twitter.

Rep. Patty Miller and Sen. Dan Lederman

September 23, 2011
DAKOTA DUNES, SD ? State Senator Dan Lederman and State Representative Patty Miller will co-sponsor legislation during the upcoming legislative session making all public employee contracts open for public inspection and copying. State Senator Dan Lederman stated that, ?the public deserves to know specifically how their taxpayers dollars are being spent and what they are spent on. The actions of school district officials in Yankton and Sioux Falls have brought to light that some public officials believe they can hide behind poorly written disclosure laws; that time is over. We are going to shine the brightest light possible on public records.?
State Representative Patty Miller of North Sioux City is joining with Senator Lederman to make records open to the public, ?it?s time to let the sun shine in on public records. There is no reason why taxpayers shouldn?t know what we are paying for. Making government more transparent and accountable will help citizens to determine how all levels of government operate and spend our tax dollars.?
Lederman and Miller are proposing to amend South Dakota Codified Laws 1-27-1.5 (7) and 1-27-1.5(10) to open up for public inspection public employee contracts in their entirety with the exception of vital personal data such as birth dates, social security numbers or health insurance information.

Judging from recent comments there is a strong consensus to enact such legislation and eliminate the exception claimed by the Sioux Falls school district.

29 Replies to “Legislators support open government”

  1. Anonymous

    Lederman is getting a lot of press on this site. (what is the deal with that?) About time Novstrup got some attention for the good work he does. I do not know Patty Miller. (thanks for posting pics)

  2. anon

    Novstrup has been a very good public servant over the years. He is a good man and follows his strong conservative principles.

      1. anon

        My guess is Lederman has something to do with this Mr. Clay thing. I mean Lederman is up to something.

        …and who has recieved 3 mentions in posts the last few days?

        I’m probably wrong.

        1. anon

          My money says it’s someone about 40-50 or so who’s been involved in politics a long time. It has to be someone who knows a lot of people. Or maybe it is more than one person?

    1. Spencer

      Please, don’t make me beg for that match up. We need to find a way to get Pam a paid speaking gig that will introduce her remarkably obtuse nature to the rest of South Dakota.

  3. Stace Nelson

    Sen. Novstrup worked hard to pass the law originally, then to put some teeth in the law this last session. Happy to support a change to the law that makes this reality…

  4. Annon

    We need to be careful on this issue. There are plenty of things in Pierre that we would not want the public to see. Lets not paint ourselves into a corner where we will be held to the same standard.

    1. Anonymous

      I don’t think we are in any danger of that…

      Homan made herself look terrible with this little stunt. She totally lost all credibility she ever had.

    2. anonanon

      like what? What is so sensitive, other than what is already protected in SDCL 1-27 under the exceptions standard, that taxpayers should not be able to see?

  5. Anonymous

    I agree Homan’s contract should be public. She was already in a hole and just couldn’t quit digging when she said she’ll release it to those she deems reputable. Is that the standard for public records – only members of the public that someone likes can have them?

    Here’s another public record I’m looking forward to seeing. I want to know how much taxpayer money wealthy riverside floodplain dwellers will be getting. Dan Lederman, Mike Rounds. These are guys who can afford their own insurance – Rounds even sells insurance. Are we going to borrow from China to give these folks a handout? All flood welfare ought to be made public.

  6. William

    “Flood coverage is usually not provided by typical property insurance policies, so it is most likely that unless you?ve purchased a flood insurance policy, you do not have coverage for flood losses. Flood insurance is available through many different insurance companies, but the federal government, through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), alone bears the risk.”

      1. anon

        Some of us know that flood insurance in this event doesn’t cover much. If you spend 50,000 to save your home, as some have, you get 1,000 of that back from your flood insurance as mitigation expenses, subject of course to a deductable which may be 500 but may be 1000.

        1. Anonymous

          So does that make it the taxpayer’s duty to pay the rest not covered by insurance?

          The taxpayers pay what IS covered by insurance.

          The taxpayers pay what IS NOT covered by insurance.

          The taxpayers pay if you didn’t buy insurance.

          Where is the personal responsibility in this scenario?

          Rep. Kristi Noem says people living by the river “deserve” taxpayer money. As Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.” I say flood relief ought to be means tested. Folks left destitute by flooding maybe could use a hand up, but folks who can afford a luxury home by the river ought not get a hand out.

  7. CaveMan

    Opportunism is the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances, with little regard for principles.

    Anon 4:35; at least you could google the proper spelling before making a fool of yourself………………………English: The Universal Language—try using it.

    1. Anonymous


      My guess is that there are a lot of reasons why the legislators strongly backed Curd over Noem. If we hang out with them long enough several will even tell us why…

      It has to do with appreciation.

      1. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

        I don’t know about the collective keen appreciation for leadership that the many horned viced tusked pachyderms in Pierre exhibited in their support of Mr. Curd; however, I truly appreciated his previous dedicated support of the Daschle & SHS campaigns.

  8. CaveMan

    Anon you actually like hanging out with legislators in order to find out the truth? The beer bar just inside Kens gas station beside Kens liquor store will get you farther into the truth than anywhere in Northern South Dakota. Although during the summer on a warm day when the Novstrups are extremely busy a smart person could pester father and son enough to force the truth out of the only father/son legislative team in South Dakota’s legislature. But then they may pull the ultimate coup d’ e’tat legislatively speaking and push their agenda down upon you without totally giving out any of the truth. But I doubt it as Al Novstrup is all about the truth! 🙂

    We started out with Senator Novstrup’s bill from last year opening up some sunshine with real merit upon government agencies who do not allow the expulsion of their records onto the public. Moved into the codified section of open records laws pertaining to school boards and their supposedly public negotiations with superintendants. ( And that dog won’t hunt without a change in statute.) Now somehow we are into a conversation covering how Blake Curd got legislators to sign onto his campaign two months before Kristi Noem let anyone know she was running for Congress! (Someone told me he promised free hand surgery for writers cramp!) 🙂

    1. El Toro Loco Grande (The Big Crazy (old) Bull)

      You may want to inquire on that surgery for our apparent shared “fat fingeritiss” as I think you meant exposure vice expulsion or was that a Freudian slip in your thoughts on Anon’s apparent ignoramasouity?

  9. JUST ME

    If the people running government are fearful of showing the complete books it most likely is because something crooked is taking place and the receiver of the free stuff does not want to be noted. SHOW IT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!