South Dakota tribes speak against ‘riot-boosting’ penalties

Opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada are seen demonstrating in sub-freezing temperatures on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019 in Billings, Mont. The State Department has released a new environmental study of the long-stalled, $8 billion project. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

PIERRE, S.D. — A South Dakota House committee has advanced Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposal to update parts of the “riot boosting” laws that a judge found to be unconstitutional last year.

Native American groups opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline protested the bill. The measure would update criminal laws on rioting and “incitement to riot” that are on the books. The state agreed not to enforce parts of those laws in October as part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The governor argues that the proposed laws are designed to protect people’s rights to protest peacefully, but Native American tribes opposed to Keystone XL say it “silences” them.

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