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Column: Hiding from Transparency

South Dakota Capitol Building
J. Stephen Conn, Flickr

PIERRE – State legislators can’t agree about how much access you should have to the goings on of local government committee meetings. The recommendations of Governor Daugaard’s Open Government Task Force were not passed in their full flower by either branch of the state legislature. The House version is considerably less robust than the Senate one.

At issue is whether the committee and subcommittee meetings of local bodies of government should be required to make their proceedings in the absence of a quorum available to interested citizens. Opponents of the measure argue that it could dissuade people from being open in expressing their opinions, or in extreme cases from entering politics at all.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t expect that much from politicians. Heck, most of us don’t even bother voting unless it is a Presidential election year. Statistics would likely show that the average person spends more time per week pumping their gas than they do thinking about local politics.

In the rare case that somebody wants to know what is going on in some city council subcommittee meeting, why would we want to deny them that information? If having to go on record with what was said would discourage frankness and honesty, what exactly is being said at these meetings?

Whenever government makes a point out of wanting to keep its proceedings quiet, we can’t help but be curious as to why we don’t deserve to know the truth. After all, what do they have to hide?

More Political News from KSOO-AM

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries.

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