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Concerns arise that new S.D. electronic bill monitoring system makes state government less transparent The South Dakota Legislative Research Council modernized its bill filing and tracking system this session, but some people in Pierre worry it has reduced public access to the legislative process and removed some of the human element from lawmaking. State officials said the new system was needed to update South Dakota’s legislative process and make legislative work more efficient. The new workflow system replaced the old pen-and-paper-based system for drafting, seeking co-sponsors and amending legislation.

Yet some critics of the new system say that the state’s attempt to bring the legislative process into the 21st century may have inadvertently cut the public out of a key part of the legislative process — gathering co-sponsors for legislation. Others worry that the new, digital legislative workflow system may create more distance between legislators and the public. Furthermore, some lobbyists in Pierre say the Legislature’s new system is less transparent than the old way of doing business.

In the latest piece published by South Dakota News Watch, reporter Nick Lowrey reveals how the new system works and also the views of some of its critics.