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HB 1153: Include “Text Colloquies” in Public Meeting Broadcasts and Records

The South Dakota House approved a useful amendment to our open meetings laws yesterday. My Representative Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) brought House Bill 1153 to include "text colloquy" in the definition of "teleconference". Under HB 1153, e-mails, text messages, chat room messages, and other such electronic communications among members of any public body become public record, to be made available to the public during the meeting and kept on file for at least one year following the meeting, if those communications involve a quorum of that public body and discuss official business.

Majority leader Rep. Brian Gosch (R-32/Rapid City) led the 22 Republicans who opposed House Bill 1153. He fretted that investigators could riffle through elected officials texts and e-mails. I would suggest to Rep. Gosch a simple solution: use one official e-mail account exclusively for public business, and don't communicate with fellow members of the body to which you are elected on your personal e-mail or phone. I would also suggest Rep. Gosch not worry: Rep. Novstrup's record on last year's EB-5 investigation shows he's not really interested in serious investigations of elected officials.

Joining Rep. Gosch in resisting open records was Rep. Tim Rounds (R-24/Pierre), brother of U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. That family's resistance to making e-mails and other official communications public is entirely understandable. But now that the EB-5 coast seems clear, the Governor and AG Jackley support this bill.

House Bill 1153 now heads for the Senate.


  1. Jana 2015.02.26

    Two thoughts. The establishment in Pierre has shown and said many times that they do not represent the people of South Dakota. Transparency is the last thing they want.

    All official correspondence should be public, after all, the public is paying for them and they work for us...well, in theory anyway.

    For Gosch and his other Nay sayers, what do you have to hide?

  2. Jeff Barth 2015.02.26


  3. Rod Hall 2015.02.26

    A week has passed since the bids were opened for the Mitchell School Fine Arts Center. Without discussion in publicly announced school board meetings, how can Supt. Joe Graves speak with authority, what the directions of the elected board members are? It seems highly unlikely that there has not been discussion: verbal, text or e-mail messages. After all the superintendent carries out the wishes of the board or makes a recommendation to the board. Since the opening of the bids, which were $millions too high, the only scheduled school board meeting was cancelled. The Argus and Daily Republic both carried news notice quoting Supt. Graves but as usual, nothing from the board members. When contacted by a constituent one board member was hostile and "hung up" her phone! That proposed legislation appears very appropriate for the 21st century!

  4. Jana 2015.02.26

    Lee, Troy, Hoffman and other regular GOP visitors to the site a quick question.

    I'm pretty sure that the legislators are pro business in their view on employers having access to employee communications done while on the job.

    Why doesn't that apply to the employers of the governor, legislature, constitutional officers and other employees of the state?

    Shouldn't the citizens who pay these salaries have the same rights as a private business?

    As an addendum, if an employee does something publicly that embarrasses an employer, can that employer fire that employee?

    We are a right to work state, which means we can fire anyone for any reason. Should that same standard be held to the people who have been elected to work for the employer citizens?

    Do you think that those that govern should be a protected class of citizens...much like you object to minorities, gays and whistle blowers not falling under that protection?

    Cue the music from Jeopardy while we wait for the answers.

  5. leslie 2015.02.26

    former US Attorney gov. chris christie's (who knows professionally by training and experience how to evade law enforcement and cover his tracks in political investigations) and his scandal riddled NJ GOP administration, has personally admitted he always deletes all text messeges and does not use email so as not to leave a discoverable trail of evidence, i believe, even before the very, very EB5-like "bridge-gate" political retribution agaist an entire city under a democrat mayor.

    remember just before the election daugaard announced that, doh, state policy is to ERASE TEXTS OR EMAILS (i can't remeber which), after 30 days after benda and/or joop bollen left state employment. jfc, what else is new? GEOD audits and investigations would not have the benefit of that information either, oh, darn!!!!!!!!!!!!

    oh, remember too, the SDGOP legislature decided to do nothing ethically, or legislatively to rectify this EB5 criminal cover up.

    imo, an investigative journalist could put a sitting gov. and senator behind bars for EB5 fraud.

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