South Dakota

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South Dakota

Statutory Citation: SDCL Chapter 1-27

Definition of Public Record

Public records are defined as all records kept by public bodies in South Dakota, no matter the physical form. The state also offers OpenSD, a search-able website with many public documents available. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: Savings and loan association reports; school records; juvenile court records; adoption records; hospital licensing and inspection information; and medical research information. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

Timeframe not specified. 3

Information on Fees

The state’s fee provision states that fees must be kept to actual cost for mailing, transmittal, or reproduction. Fees can be incurred after one hour of employee labor time. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

The civil options are a lawsuit or administrative hearing with appeal to circuit court. SDCL §1-27-38.(see) Although the open records statutes do not provide any specific criminal sanctions, the criminal code, itself, makes it a felony to destroy, conceal, remove or impair the availability of any public record. SDCL §22-1-24. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the local states attorneys would/should enforce the act. However, there are no recorded cases of prosecutions for open records violations. 5

Attorney Fees

It is possible, but the RCFP guide to South Dakota public records states that they are unlikely to be granted. 6

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute