The ACLU's 2024 Legislative Priorities

What happens during South Dakota’s annual legislative session has a deep and lasting impact on our communities. Here’s what’s on our agenda this year.

2024 South Dakota Session Priority Banner

The fight to defend our freedoms, our civil rights, and our liberties, has never been more important.

That’s why the ACLU of South Dakota is showing up in full force this legislative session to defend a variety of key issue areas.

We’re working collectively with activists, legal minds, and volunteer leaders from across the state to defend and advance our ability to live freely.  After all, what happens during South Dakota’s annual legislative session has a deep and lasting impact on our communities. Change happens when we show up!  

Session starts on Tuesday, January 9 and over the next few weeks, hundreds of bills will be debated, modified, vetoed, and passed. It’s on us to ensure the bad ones don’t become bad laws. You ready? 

The stakes are high for legislative action in 2024. We must come together to defend the civil rights and liberties of every South Dakotan. 

Here’s what’s on the ACLU of South Dakota’s agenda this year.  

Protecting Your Right to Vote 

Unencumbered access to the ballot box allows South Dakotans to protect their futures and communities collectively. The ACLU will stand against any attempt to chip away at the right to vote. 

Voting is a fundamental American right! 

Protecting the Rights of LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit South Dakotans 

In 2023 alone, over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in state legislatures across the country. This session, the ACLU and our allies are committed to continuing to fight to uphold the civil rights and liberties of LGBTQ and Two-Spirit South Dakotans. 

Queer people are here and they’re not going anywhere. 

Protecting the First Amendment 

Free societies speak freely! The ACLU will work to block attempts to suppress the right to free expression through speech, political action, and performance.                                                                                                                                       

Any attempt to ban our right to freely express ourselves is a clear violation of the First Amendment. 

Supporting Indigenous Sovereignty and Justice

The Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota people are disproportionately represented in South Dakota's jails, prisons, and foster care system. The ACLU will fight to dismantle the racism entrenched into South Dakota's incarceration system and support solutions to keep Native families together.

Indigenous justice means Indigenous people have the freedom and ability of to exercise their rights and sovereignty over themselves, their people, and their land. This includes the freedom to engage in traditional ways of governing, being, healing, and knowing while also learning and celebrating culture, language, tradition, and heritage by ceremonies and other practices.

Protecting Bodily Autonomy and Supporting Abortion Rights

South Dakota is an inherently dangerous place to give birth. Giving birth is one of the most common reasons younger American women, including South Dakotans, are admitted to a hospital, with roughly 3.7 million births recorded nationally each year (about 12,000 in South Dakota annually). Healthcare providers should be empowered to provide women with the care they need, including abortion, free from governmental intrusion.

This session, the ACLU is standing against attacks on reproductive rights, fighting intrusive laws that compromise privacy rights and restrict access to essential reproductive health care. Each of us are the rightful authors of our own life stories, not the government. 

The stakes are high for legislative action in 2024. We must come together to defend the civil rights and liberties of every South Dakotan. 

Here’s how you can help!

Become an ACLU Action Taker

Join our growing list of action takers! 

Angelica holding a "Pride is Still Protest" sign

Commit to remaining informed and ready to take action at a moment’s notice. We’ll share information regularly. Just keep an eye to your inbox and we’ll alert you when the time comes. 

Show up and hold your elected officials accountable

Have you heard of Legislative Coffees or Cracker Barrels?

People at a Legislative Coffee holding protest signs

Attending a Legislative Coffee or Cracker Barrel is a great way to get involved in your community and show South Dakota's lawmakers you're paying attention.

These open forums are held regularly in communicates across South Dakota during legislative session. Find yours today and make a plan to attend!

Track Legislation

It might just be a bill and only a bill, but these drafted pieces of legislation could become laws and affect your life in various ways. 

Protesting House Bill 1217 image

The effects of any bill could be positive, or in some cases, pretty negative. It's your duty as an activist to keep informed and ready to act.

On our Bill Tracker page, you’ll find priority bills we're tracking during the South Dakota Legislative Session. Tap through, learn more, and email your questions to