House Bill 1117 would revise certain provisions regarding riots, to establish the crime of incitement to riot, and to revise provisions regarding civil liability for riot and riot boosting. HB 1117 is an unnecessary effort to legislate peaceful protest in South Dakota. This bill and the narrative surrounding it only creates a state of fear that pits activists and organizers who are exercising their First Amendment rights against government officials and law enforcement
The ACLU of South Dakota opposes any attempt to stifle free speech and protest in South Dakota. The South Dakota Legislature does not need to pass laws that would intimidate peaceful protesters and chip away at their constitutional rights. The ACLU of South Dakota, along with the people and organizations most directly impacted by this unnecessary legislation, would like to see a comprehensive plan that ensures civil rights will be protected and a plan that prevents the escalation of any tension between peaceful protestors and law enforcement.