Riot-Boosting Reboot Bill Passes House Committee

(KBRK) — The House State Affairs Committee passes Governor Noem’s second try at “riot-boosting” legislation. It’s in response to feared protests that may arise surrounding the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in western South Dakota. Katie Hruska, Deputy General Counsel with the Governor’s office, says this year’s bill removes and revises portions of the law passed last year that was found unconstitutional as well as older statutes that were likely unconstitutional. She says it targets violence…

“This statute cannot be construed to prohibit any oral or written advocacy of ideas or expressions of belief. To take that one step further, the bill explicitly directs that this section cannot be construed to prevent the peaceful assembly of persons for lawful protests and petition.”

Opponents say the intent of the bill remains the same and it merely changes criminal penalties to civil. Remi Bald Eagle spoke on behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. He says this will curtail free speech…

“Existing criminal laws are adequate to protect us all from individuals who might engage in acts of violence, but who and what will be there to protect us from the devastating consequences of an oil spill or leak. This is the real threat that we’re talking about today.”

Speaker of the House, Steven Haugaard of Sioux Falls, voted against the
bill…

“It is cleaning up some of the mess that was created last year, but I think the penalties are too high. I don’t think the restitution is necessary and probably the number of people involved is, I think, is problematic. It’s…whether it’s this statute or another statute it’s the idea of the intent is a moving target that’s very difficult to establish and I’d hope that this isn’t used in a way that creates additional tension.”
The measure passed 10-3 and now proceeds to the full House.