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South Dakota newspaper sues House Speaker for open records

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota House speaker is facing a lawsuit over his decision to withhold from a newspaper the names of lawmakers who petitioned for a special legislative session to consider impeaching the attorney general.

Rep. Spencer Gosch

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the South Dakota Newspaper Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Republican Rep. Spencer Gosch violated state open records laws by refusing requests for the names of lawmakers who signed on to a petition for the special session. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg is facing potential impeachment next month for his conduct in a car crash that killed a pedestrian last year.

In order to call a special session, both the House and Senate had to gain support from two-thirds of their members. While the Senate leadership has released the names of lawmakers who signed the petition, Gosch has refused to release the names of House lawmakers who supported it. He has argued that information is exempted from open records laws because it falls under an exception that keeps “correspondence” from being released to the public.

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