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(SD)-Pipeline Protest Bills Headed To Governor

By: John Axtell Posted at: 03/08/2019 11:47 PM
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Republican Gov. Kristi Noem's last-minute bills to address potential Keystone XL oil pipeline demonstrations are all but law.
     The GOP-dominated Legislature voted Thursday to approve the pair of measures, which would require pipeline companies to help pay protest-related expenses and create a way to pursue money from those who fund destructive demonstrations.
     Republican Rep. Jon Hansen says the measure to go after so-called riot boosting is about upholding the rule of law and holding accountable people who incite violence while GOP Senator Lee Schoenbeck says it seeks to protect families and communities who would be victims of "terrorist conduct."
     Senate Democratic leader Troy Heinert, an opponent, says he thinks it has "constitutional issues" and suspects it will be challenged in court. The ACLU of South Dakota says it's currently "weighing all options" to make sure residents' First Amendment rights are upheld.
     Noem's push comes in the waning days of session, and critics have panned the timing and the administration's lack of consultation with Native American tribes . Emergency provisions on the bills would make them take effect immediately and block opponents from referring them to a public vote.
     The bills come after opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline staged large protests that resulted in hundreds of arrests in North Dakota in late 2016.


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