NEW OPEN MEETING LAW STARTS TODAY
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Larry Long says that the new South Dakota Open Meetings Commission is open for business today, and offers the following suggestions:
“If you believe that the Open Meeting law has been violated, you must file your complaint with the local authorities (either the Sheriff or States Attorney),” said Long. “This allows local law enforcement to investigate your complaint and develop the facts so that the Open Meetings Commission will understand what happened.”
The states attorney will review the information from both sides and determine the merit of the complaint. City, county and state authorities will have the opportunity to explain their actions at this level. The States Attorney will then exercise one of 3 options; a.) Prosecute b.) Dismiss c.) Refer the case to the Open Meetings Commission. If the complaint is referred to the Open Meetings Commission, it will be reviewed to determine whether a violation occurred. Regardless of the outcome of the complaint the Attorney General’s Office will keep copies of all complaints for monitoring reasons. This process changes the previous law that required prosecutors to either file misdemeanor charges or take no formal action.
“We are hopeful that the monitoring of the complaints will determine where there are gaps in the law that need to be addressed by the legislature,” said Long. “We are confident that this process will work and will be fair for all.”
If you have any additional questions regarding the Open Meetings Commission contact Sara Rabern at 605-773-3215.