ACLU files federal lawsuit to challenge Gov. Noem’s “Riot Boosting” pipeline bill

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

PIERRE, S.D. — The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of South Dakota have filed a federal lawsuit challenging Gov. Noem’s “Riot Boosting” pipeline bill, Senate Bill 189.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday, one day after Noem signed her pipeline package into law.

The package includes two bills, S.B. 189 and S.B. 190, that are designed to help spread the costs associated with building the Keystone XL pipeline through South Dakota, particularly in terms of policing protests.

The lawsuit takes issue with S.B. 189, which seeks money from those deemed to be”riot boosting,” defined as participating in, encouraging or funding destructive protests.

“The lawsuit asserts that the laws violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by chilling protected speech and failing to adequately describe what speech or conduct could subject protesters and organizations to criminal and civil penalties,” the ACLU said in a press release.

The lawsuit also takes aim at two other South Dakota laws which already existed prior to Noem’s pipeline package, and that make participating in or directing and soliciting others to use force or violence during a riot a felony.

The ACLU argues that the language used by the laws is too vague, invites arbitrary enforcement and “will result in indiscriminate targeting of peaceful organizers.”

Gov. Noem signed her pipeline package into law with an emergency clause attached so that it would go into effect immediately. The ACLU lawsuit asks that the court prohibit the state from enforcing the laws as the case goes forward.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the District of South Dakota on behalf of four organizations: the Sierra Club, NDN Collective, Dakota Rural Action, and the Indigenous Environmental Network; and two individuals: Nick Tilsen with NDN Collective and Dallas Goldtooth with Indigenous Environmental Network.

All of the organizations and individuals are planning to protest the Keystone XL pipeline, or encourage others to do so.

Categories: Local News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News