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Records now presumed public in South Dakota

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  1. Freedom of Information
South Dakota is now on par with most states and the federal government in treating its government records as presumably…

South Dakota is now on par with most states and the federal government in treating its government records as presumably public rather than non-public.

Gov. Mike Rounds signed a bill flipping the legal standard despite the fact that he, as well as several other groups, opposed it, the Associated Press reported. South Dakota Sen. Dave Knudson championed the measure, which leaves protection for confidentiality where appropriate, such as with regard to medical, financial and security information and trade secrets.

Many states model their open records laws after the federal Freedom of Information Act. Under these laws, governments presume their records are public and therefore releasable, unless an exemption specifically allows for nondisclosure. South Dakota’s new law puts it in line with these states, which also now includes Pennsylvania. The presumption of disclosure standard in that state took effect Jan. 1.