South Dakota Public Record Laws


S.D.C.L. 1-27-1 et seq.

Exemptions to Disclosure

The following records are not open to disclosure:

  • Trade secrets;
  • The specific details of bona fide research, applied research, or scholarly or creative artistic projects being conducted at a school, post secondary institution or laboratory funded in whole or in part by the state, and other proprietary or commercial information which if released would infringe intellectual property rights, give advantage to business competitors, or serve no material public purpose;
  • Attorney work product;
  • Personal correspondence, memoranda, notes, calendars or logs of appointments, working papers, and records of telephone calls of public officials or employees;
  • Records or portions of records kept by public bodies which would reveal the location, character, or ownership of any known archaeological, historical, or paleontological site in South Dakota if necessary to protect the site from a reasonably held fear of theft, vandalism, or trespass;
  • Records or portions of records kept by public bodies which maintain collections of archeological, historical, or paleontological significance which nongovernmental donors have requested to remain closed or which reveal the names and addresses of donors of such articles of archaeological, historical, or paleontological significance unless the donor approves disclosure;
  • Drafts, notes, recommendations, and memoranda in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended are exempt from disclosure pursuant to §§1-27-1 to 1-27-1.15;
  • Documents or communications used for decisional process arising from person’s official duties not subject to compulsory disclosure;
  • No elected or appointed official or employee of the state or any political subdivision may be compelled to provide documents, records, or communications used for the purpose of the decisional or deliberative process relating to any decision arising from that person’s official duties.

Access Rights

A reasonable fee may be charged for providing records, and such fee may include “a reasonable amount representing a portion of the amortization of the cost of computer equipment, including software.” 1-27-1.2

Destruction of Public Records

1-27-10. Records as property of state—Damage or disposal only as authorized by law. All records of public officials of this state required to be kept or maintained by law are the property of the state and may not be mutilated, destroyed, transferred, removed, or otherwise damaged or disposed of, in whole or in part, except as provided by law.

1-27-15. Destruction of nonrecord materials. Any nonrecord material not included within the definition of records as contained in §1-27-9 may be destroyed at any time by the agency in possession of such materials without the prior approval of the commissioner of administration.

(Note that: 1-27 -1.1.Public records defined.Unless any other statute, ordinance, or rule expressly provides that particular information or records may not be made public, public records include all records and documents, regardless of physical form, of or belonging to this state, any county, municipality, political subdivision, or tax-supported district in this state, or any agency, branch, department, board, bureau, commission, council, subunit, or committee of any of the foregoing. Data which is a public record in its original form remains a public record when maintained in any other form.)

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