Just four days after its last-minute introduction by Gov. Kristi Noem, the South Dakota Legislature passed Senate Bill 189, legislation that threatens freedom of speech and takes aim at protests that could occur around the Keystone XL pipeline.
Senate Bill 189 creates an entirely new category of civil liability under South Dakota law that is motivated by a fear of speech and protest. The bill’s language is extremely broad and reaches people exercising their right to free speech and assembly and will chill free speech. It attempts to blur the line between constitutionally-protected speech and unlawful actions and would catch many innocent protestors in its wide net.
The ACLU of South Dakota is currently weighing all options to ensure the First Amendment rights of South Dakotans are upheld.