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CHAPTER 1-25

MEETINGS OF PUBLIC AGENCIES

1-25-1      Official meetings open to public--Exceptions_Public comment--Violation as misdemeanor.
1-25-1.1      Notice of meeting of political subdivision--Agenda--Violation as misdemeanor.
1-25-1.2      Repealed .
1-25-1.3      Notice of meeting of the state--Agenda--Violation as misdemeanor.
1-25-1.4      Information to be posted on state website.
1-25-1.5      Teleconference meeting or hearing--Quorum--Vote.
1-25-1.6      Public participation in teleconference meeting.
1-25-2      Executive or closed meetings--Purposes--Authorization--Violation as misdemeanor.
1-25-3      Minutes of proceedings--Availability to public--Violation as misdemeanor.
1-25-4      Repealed.
1-25-5      Repealed.
1-25-6      Duty of state's attorney on receipt of complaint alleging chapter violation.
1-25-6.1      Duty of state's attorney on receipt of complaint alleging violation by board of county commissioners.
1-25-7      Consideration by commission of complaint or written submissions alleging chapter violation--Findings--Public censure.
1-25-8      Open Meeting Commission--Appointment of members--Chair.
1-25-9      Limitations on participation by commission members.
1-25-10      State Investment Council may discuss certain matters in executive session .
1-25-11      Recording of open official meeting to be permitted.
1-25-12      Definitions.


     1-25-1.   Official meetings open to public--Exceptions--Public comment--Violation as misdemeanor. The official meetings of the state and its political subdivisions are open to the public unless a specific law is cited by the state or the political subdivision to close the official meeting to the public.
     It is not an official meeting of one public body if its members provide information or attend the official meeting of another public body for which the notice requirements of § 1-25-1.1 or 1-25-1.3 have been met. It is not an official meeting of a public body if its members attend a press conference called by a representative of the public body.
     For any event hosted by a nongovernmental entity to which a quorum of the public body is invited and public policy may be discussed, but the public body does not control the agenda, the political subdivision may post a public notice of a quorum, in lieu of an agenda. The notice of a quorum shall meet the posting requirements of § 1-25-1.1 or 1-25-1.3 and shall contain, at a minimum, the date, time, and location of the event.
     The public body shall reserve at every regularly scheduled official meeting a period for public comment, limited at the public body's discretion, but not so limited as to provide for no public comment. At a minimum, public comment shall be allowed at regularly scheduled official meetings which are designated as regular meetings by statute, rule, or ordinance.
     Public comment is not required at official meetings held solely for the purpose of an inauguration, swearing in of newly elected officials, or presentation of an annual report to the governing body regardless of whether or not such activity takes place at the time and place usually reserved for a regularly scheduled meeting.
     If a quorum of township supervisors, road district trustees, or trustees for a municipality of the third class meet solely for purposes of implementing previously publicly-adopted policy, carrying out ministerial functions of that township, district, or municipality, or undertaking a factual investigation of conditions related to public safety, the meeting is not subject to the provisions of this chapter.
     A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1965, ch 269; SL 1980, ch 24, § 9; SL 1989, ch 15, § 1A; SL 1990, ch 18, § 1; SL 1990, ch 30, § 1; SL 1993, ch 17; SL 2005, ch 16, § 1; SL 2008, ch 13, § 1; SL 2010, ch 9, § 2; SL 2012, ch 5, § 1; SL 2013, ch 8, § 1; SL 2016, ch 9, § 1; SL 2018, ch 14, § 1; SL 2019, ch 3, § 2.


     1-25-1.1.   Notice of meeting of political subdivision--Agenda--Violation as misdemeanor. Each political subdivision shall provide public notice, with proposed agenda, that is visible, readable, and accessible for at least an entire, continuous twenty-four hours immediately preceding any official meeting, by posting a copy of the notice, visible to the public, at the principal office of the political subdivision holding the meeting. The proposed agenda shall include the date, time, and location of the meeting. The notice shall also be posted on the political subdivision's website upon dissemination of the notice, if a website exists. For any special or rescheduled meeting, the information in the notice shall be delivered in person, by mail, by email, or by telephone, to members of the local news media who have requested notice. For any special or rescheduled meeting, each political subdivision shall also comply with the public notice provisions of this section for a regular meeting to the extent that circumstances permit. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1987, ch 22, § 2; § 1-25-1.2; SL 1990, ch 19; SL 1990, ch 30, § 2; SL 2012, ch 6, § 1; SL 2013, ch 9, § 1; SL 2015, ch 11, § 1; SL 2016, ch 10, § 1; SL 2019, ch 3, § 5.


     1-25-1.2.   Repealed by SL 2019, ch 3, § 6.


     1-25-1.3.   Notice of meeting of the state--Agenda--Violation as misdemeanor. The state shall provide public notice of a meeting by posting a copy of the proposed agenda at the principal office of the board, commission, or department holding the meeting. The proposed agenda shall include the date, time, and location of the meeting, and be visible, readable, and accessible to the public. The agenda shall be posted at least seventy-two hours before the meeting is scheduled to start according to the agenda. The seventy-two hours does not include Saturday, Sunday, or legal holidays. The notice shall also be posted on a state website, designated by the commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management. For any special or rescheduled meeting, the information in the notice shall be delivered in person, by mail, by email, or by telephone, to members of the local news media who have requested notice. For any special or rescheduled meeting, the state shall also comply with the public notice provisions of this section for a regular meeting to the extent that circumstances permit. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 2016, ch 10, § 2; SL 2017, ch 7, § 1; SL 2017, ch 8, § 1; SL 2019, ch 3, § 7.


     1-25-1.4.   Information to be posted on state website. Any state board, commission, or department that is required to provide public notice of its meetings pursuant to § 1-25-1.3 shall make available on a state website designated by the commissioner of the Bureau of Finance and Management, if the information exists:
             (1)      Financial statements;
             (2)      Audit reports;
             (3)      A list of the members of the board or commission;
             (4)      A schedule of future meetings;
             (5)      Public meeting materials that are available before a public meeting;
             (6)      Meeting minutes; and
             (7)      Annual reports.

Source: SL 2017, ch 8, § 2.


     1-25-1.5.   Teleconference meeting or hearing--Quorum--Vote. Any official meeting may be conducted by teleconference. A teleconference may be used to conduct a hearing or take final disposition regarding an administrative rule pursuant to § 1-26-4. A member is deemed present if the member answers present to the roll call conducted by teleconference for the purpose of determining a quorum. Each vote at an official meeting held by teleconference shall be taken by roll call.

Source: SL 2019, ch 3, § 3.


     1-25-1.6.   Public participation in teleconference meeting. At any official meeting conducted by teleconference, there shall be provided one or more places at which the public may listen to and participate in the teleconference meeting. For any official meeting held by teleconference, that has less than a quorum of the members of the public body participating in the meeting who are present at the location open to the public, arrangements shall be provided for the public to listen to the meeting via telephone or internet. The requirement to provide one or more places for the public to listen to the teleconference does not apply to official meetings closed to the public pursuant to specific law.

Source: SL 2019, ch 3, § 4.


     1-25-2.   Executive or closed meetings--Purposes--Authorization--Violation as misdemeanor. Executive or closed meetings may be held for the sole purposes of:
             (1)      Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee. The term, employee, does not include any independent contractor;
             (2)      Discussing the expulsion, suspension, discipline, assignment of or the educational program of a student or the eligibility of a student to participate in interscholastic activities provided by the South Dakota High School Activities Association;
             (3)      Consulting with legal counsel or reviewing communications from legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters;
             (4)      Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee representatives;
             (5)      Discussing marketing or pricing strategies by a board or commission of a business owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions, when public discussion may be harmful to the competitive position of the business; or
             (6)      Discussing information listed in subdivisions 1-27-1.5(8) and 1-27-1.5(17).
However, any official action concerning such matters shall be made at an open official meeting. An executive or closed meeting shall be held only upon a majority vote of the members of the public body present and voting, and discussion during the closed meeting is restricted to the purpose specified in the closure motion. Nothing in § 1-25-1 or this section prevents an executive or closed meeting if the federal or state Constitution or the federal or state statutes require or permit it. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1965, ch 269; SL 1980, ch 24, § 10; SL 1987, ch 22, § 1; SL 2014, ch 90, § 2; SL 2019, ch 2, § 1.


     1-25-3.   Minutes of proceedings--Availability to public--Violation as misdemeanor. The state shall keep detailed minutes of the proceedings of all regular or special meetings. The minutes required in this section shall report how each individual member voted on any motion on which a roll call vote is taken. The minutes shall be available for inspection by the public at all times at the principal place of business of the board or commission. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Source: SL 1953, ch 307; SDC Supp 1960, § 55.2917; SL 1966, ch 165, § 16; SL 1980, ch 24, § 11; SL 1996, ch 9, § 1; SL 2015, ch 12, § 1; SL 2019, ch 3, § 8.


     1-25-4.   Repealed by SL 1996, ch 9, § 2.


     1-25-5.   Repealed by SL 1980, ch 24, § 12.


     1-25-6.   Duty of state's attorney on receipt of complaint alleging chapter violation. If a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter is made pursuant to § 23A-2-1, the state's attorney shall take one of the following actions:
             (1)      Prosecute the case pursuant to Title 23A;
             (2)      Determine that there is no merit to prosecuting the case. Upon doing so, the state's attorney shall send a copy of the complaint and any investigation file to the attorney general. The attorney general shall use the information for statistical purposes and may publish abstracts of such information, including the name of the government body involved for purposes of public education; or
             (3)      Send the complaint and any investigation file to the South Dakota Open Meetings Commission for further action.

Source: SL 2004, ch 19, § 1.


     1-25-6.1.   Duty of state's attorney on receipt of complaint alleging violation by board of county commissioners. If a complaint alleges a violation of this chapter by a board of county commissioners, the state's attorney shall take one of the following actions:
             (1)      Prosecute the case pursuant to Title 23A;
             (2)      Determine that there is no merit to prosecuting the case. The attorney general shall use the information for statistical purposes and may publish abstracts of the information as provided by § 1-25-6;
             (3)      Send the complaint and any investigation file to the South Dakota Open Meetings Commission for further action; or
             (4)      Refer the complaint to another state's attorney or to the attorney general for action pursuant to § 1-25-6.

Source: SL 2010, ch 6, § 1.


     1-25-7.   Consideration by commission of complaint or written submissions alleging chapter violation--Findings--Public censure. Upon receiving a referral from a state's attorney or the attorney general, the South Dakota Open Meetings Commission shall examine the complaint and investigatory file submitted by the state's attorney or the attorney general and shall also consider signed written submissions by the persons or entities that are directly involved. Based on the investigatory file submitted by the state's attorney or the attorney general and any written responses, the commission shall issue a written determination on whether the conduct violates this chapter, including a statement of the reasons therefor and findings of fact on each issue and conclusions of law necessary for the proposed decision. The final decision shall be made by a majority of the commission members, with each member's vote set forth in the written decision. The final decision shall be filed with the attorney general and shall be provided to the public entity and or public officer involved, the state's attorney, and any person that has made a written request for such determinations. If the commission finds a violation of this chapter, the commission shall issue a public reprimand to the offending official or governmental entity. However, no violation found by the commission may be subsequently prosecuted by the state's attorney or the attorney general. All findings and public censures of the commission shall be public records pursuant to § 1-27-1. Sections 1-25-6 to 1-25-9, inclusive, are not subject to the provisions of chapter 1-26.

Source: SL 2004, ch 19, § 2; SL 2010, ch 6, § 2.


     1-25-8.   Open Meeting Commission--Appointment of members--Chair. The South Dakota Open Meeting Commission shall be comprised of five state's attorneys appointed by the attorney general. Each commissioner shall serve at the pleasure of the attorney general. A chair of the commission shall be chosen annually from the membership of the commission by a majority of its members.

Source: SL 2004, ch 19, § 3.


     1-25-9.   Limitations on participation by commission members. No member of the commission may participate as part of the commission or vote on any action regarding a violation of this chapter if that member reported or was involved in the initial investigation, is an attorney for anyone who reported or was involved in the initial investigation, or represents or serves as a member of the governmental entity about whom the referral is made. The provisions of this section do not preclude a commission member from otherwise serving on the commission for other matters referred to the commission.

Source: SL 2004, ch 19, § 4.


     1-25-10.   State Investment Council may discuss certain matters in executive session. The State Investment Council, in executive session, may discuss and consider any document or information exempt from public disclosure requirements under the provisions of subdivision 1-27-1.6(5).

Source: SL 2010, ch 7, § 1.


     1-25-11.   Recording of open official meeting to be permitted. No public body may prevent a person from recording, through audio or video technology, an official meeting as long as the recording is reasonable, obvious, and not disruptive. This section does not apply to meetings closed to the public pursuant to specific law.

Source: SL 2016, ch 11, § 1; SL 2019, ch 3, § 9.


     1-25-12.   Definitions. Terms used in this chapter mean:
             (1)      "Political subdivision," any association, authority, board, commission, committee, council, task force, school district, county, city, town, township, or other local government entity that is created or appointed by statute, ordinance, or resolution and is vested with the authority to exercise any sovereign power derived from state law;
             (2)      "Public body," any political subdivision and the state;
             (3)      "Official meeting," any meeting of a quorum of a public body at which official business or public policy of that public body is discussed or decided by the public body, whether in person or by means of teleconference;
             (4)      "Teleconference," information exchanged by any audio, video, or electronic medium, including the internet;
             (5)      "State," each board, commission, department, or agency of the State of South Dakota. The term, state, does not include the Legislature.

Source: SL 2019, ch 3, § 1.


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