Senate Bills 189 and 190 have passed through both house of the South Dakota Legislature, reports the Rapid City Journal. The package of bills from Governor Kristi Noem deal with the penalties for violence that could arise in conjunction with potential protests of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline.
The process moved quickly, with the Governor’s office introducing the bills Monday, March 4th, a joint committee hearing held March 6th, and special rules established to pass the bills out of both chambers March 7th. The bills were passed overwhelmingly in both Houses: SB 189 passed by 30-4 in the Senate and by 53-13 in the House, and SB 190 passed by 31-3 in the Senate and 58-8 in the House.
Governor Noem hopes that this package of bills will prevent South Dakota from experiencing protests like North Dakota did in 2017 around the Dakota Access Pipeline. She has said that the bills came so late in session due to her staff wanting ample time for research. Noem’s office coordinated with law enforcement, local governments, state agencies, and TransCanada to draft the bills, but tribal governments were not involved in discussions.
Opponents of the bill package, including the ACLU of South Dakota, criticized the rush to push the bills through the legislative process, the exclusion of South Dakota’s tribal leaders in the drafting of the bills, and the intent of the bills, which some say would adversely affect citizens’ free speech.
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