Senate Bill 90 is trying to open the doors of the South Dakota High School Activity Association meetings. The group is responsible for governing the sports and other activities in the state, but some lawmakers thinks the process needs to be more known to the public.
High School students that step onto the gridiron or the hardwood are governed by the South Dakota High School Activities Association. Some lawmakers on their own field of play are trying to change how open the association is to the public.
The SDHSAA is a non-profit, non-governmental body, but it was created by legislation, and it does receive money from the state.
"As an entity that receives funding they should have open meetings. It's been a controversy for a long time and I think all of government should be open for people to hear," Representative Anne Hajek said.
District 9 Senator Deb Peters is a co-sponsor of the bill that passed earlier this week through the senate by a vote of 29-5. She points to one example of a decision made by the association that shows there needs to be a change.
"One of the decisions that was made in a closed door session sometime within the last couple months was mandating shot clocks on basketball courts for double a and a schools. Well that's an unfunded mandate that an activities association has mandated to the schools. Well funding is tight and we want them to focus their funding on teachers' salaries, not on shot clocks," Senator Deb Peters said.
Peters says with more open meetings, the SDHSAA will get a better understand of how its decisions will affect schools, and concerned citizens will get a better understanding of the association's decision making.
Hajek says that activities and athletics are very important to South Dakota, and people want to be a part in making it better in the future.
"The people do have an interest, and they do need to be involved, and opening that door is the best way to do it," Hajek said.
The activities association board recently passed its own open meetings policy. The board meets six times a year and publishes its agenda a week before those meetings, it also posts meeting minutes online.