Democratic Legislative Leaders Discuss Efforts to Increase Openness and Integrity in State Government

PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference this morning, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings discussed Democratic efforts to increase openness and integrity in state government.

“South Dakotans deserve a government that reflects the values of hard work and integrity shared by the people of this state,” said Sutton. “That’s why our caucus has fought for bills to increase accountability and openness in state government for years and we will do so again this Session.”

Sutton said that among the bills relating to government ethics that Democrats will bring this Session are his “Integrity in Government” legislative package which includes bills to open state government emails as part public records and to increase the length of time that government records are kept so proper oversight occurs.

Hawley said that while Democrats were pleased to advance accountability in some areas of state government last year, much work is left to be done.

“We’re proud that in last year’s Session, after years of Democratic leadership on the issue, we were able to enact a Government Accountability Board,” Hawley said. “This was a good first step, but as we saw with the passage of Initiated Measure 22 in 2016 and the reaction to the majority’s effort to repeal it, the people of South Dakota are hungry for a more accountable and open state government. This session, Democrats will continue our efforts to honor the will of the people – including through Senator Sutton’s bill to restore the campaign finance limitations supported by the majority of South Dakota voters.”