Noem praised for transparency efforts despite recent public criticism
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Newspaper Association says it’s giving Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration a grade of “so far, so good” in terms of transparency.
The move comes after Noem signed a reporter shield bill into law. The measure protects journalists from being legally compelled to disclose their sources and other information.
It also comes less than two weeks after Noem introduced a controversial bill package that would potentially prevent Keystone XL pipeline protesters from exercising their freedom of speech and right to protest.
While the bills were praised in part for asking pipeline developers to contribute to fallout expenses associated with building the pipeline, many were upset that they were pushed through last minute without proper time to be vetted by lawmakers and the public.
The decision to rush through such important legislation, without giving the public proper time to assess the bill package, was thought to be a betrayal of Noem’s transparency promises.
Critics were also upset that Noem consulted with TransCanada during the drafting of the bills, but left South Dakota tribes in the dark that she was planning to introduce them.
During her campaign and throughout her time in office, the governor has promised to be transparent and reduce political corruption.
“Many Americans and many South Dakotans are losing their trust in government,” said Noem during her State of the State address. “This is particularly true of the younger generations. Stories of government ineptitude and downright scandal don’t help matters much. I hear you. I’m with you. So today, I’m committing to work toward building the most transparent administration South Dakota has ever seen.”
According to Dave Bordewyk, executive director of the Newspaper Association, Noem still has a lot of work to do — including making police reports and government officials’ correspondence public.