Follow-Up to SD Closing Off Public Records

Good editorial from Keith Jensen, Associate Publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, about South Dakota officials closing off public records – Editorial: State officials rushed to judgment on open records.

Quotes from the Editorial:

If it weren’t true, it would be funny — but the reasons used by public officials who pushed closing records of marriage licenses, births and deaths to public view are ludicrous.

Now here’s the kicker, folks: Doneen Hollingsworth, secretary of the state Health Department, defended the department by indicating they needed to make the change because federal rules were being drafted which would require it.

So, along comes a query to Charlie Rothwell, director of the federal Division of Vital Statistics, who said of federal law changes: “There will be nothing involved with marriages…For the most part, this will be involved with birth certificates.”

At a time when the public is demanding more openness from government, this scenario plays out like a tragic opera.

Unfortunately this will get a lot worse. Any government official can justify anything by mentioning “terrorism” or “identity theft”.

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