South Dakota newspaper pushes House Speaker to open files

SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) – A South Dakota newspaper prepares to launch a second lawsuit if the Speaker of the House does not release the names of lawmakers who called a special legislative session this month to consider s ‘the state attorney general must be dismissed.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the South Dakota Newspaper Association last month asked the state Supreme Court to force Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch to disclose who requested the special session.

A large majority in the Republican-dominated House voted on Nov. 9 for a committee to prepare a report and recommend whether Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg should be impeached for his driving in a fatal car crash. He argued unarguably in August a pair of misdemeanors in the crash that killed Joseph Boeve, 55.

The organizations argued that Gosch broke state laws on open cases by keeping a case secret that triggered legislative action, but the High Court refused to intervene and ruled that the organizations must follow the procedures. for other public folder requests. The Legislature met earlier this month without the public knowing which lawmakers had requested the special session.

But news outlets have indicated they will continue to pressure Gosch and the Legislature to disclose the case. A media lawyer contacted the Legislative Research Council and Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch last week about a lawsuit to force them to disclose the case.

David Bordewyk, executive director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, said Monday that no lawsuits have been filed, but the organization intends to press for the files to be opened to the public.

“It’s not fair and it would set a bad precedent if he were to stay,” he said of Gosch’s decision to keep the record a secret.

Leader Argus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

To convene the extraordinary session, the House and the Senate had to obtain the support of two-thirds of their members.

While the Senate leadership released the names of lawmakers who signed the petition, Gosch argued that the information is exempt from open archives laws because it falls under an exception that prevents “correspondence” from being returned. public.

Gosch also criticized media organizations for trying to serve the lawsuit on the Legislative Research Council, which is the office that facilitates the work of the legislature.

“If you want to sue someone, run after whoever made the decision,” he wrote on Twitter.

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