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.
About the ACLU of South Dakota
Decisions made during the annual sessions of the South Dakota Legislature have a deep and lasting impact on our state’s people and communities. As new laws are created and others repealed or written, it’s important to ensure that these changes preserve and strengthen our constitutional rights. For up-to-date information on the bills the ACLU of South Dakota is tracking, go to www.aclusd.org.
The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection, and privacy are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBT communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for people of South Dakota.