SDDP Statement on Republican Rush to Pass SB 189

This afternoon, Republicans in the State Legislature passed SB 189, Gov. Noem’s bill to deal with potential protesters of the Keystone XL pipeline. The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response:

“SB 189 is a bad bill that is the product of a bad process. While we agree that violence has no place in our public discourse, this bill is so broadly written that it could infringe on the ability of citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful assembly.

“Further, the way this bill was rushed through the Legislature was an abuse of the legislative process; it was introduced in the last few days of the Session through a suspension of legislative rules, which made it difficult for the public to be informed and weigh in on the bill. We are also deeply troubled that the Noem Administration consulted the TransCanada Corporation, but not tribal governments and landowners in the formulation of this legislation. The development of this pipeline project is an important issue to both tribal communities and landowners, and it was a profound sign of disrespect not to include their voices in the process of drafting this bill. 

“Whatever one thinks about the Keystone XL pipeline project, making sure citizens can exercise their First Amendment rights, allowing for a full and public debate on legislation, and including important stakeholders in the formulation of a bill on a topic of vital importance to them should not be controversial to people on either side of the debate. Unfortunately, Gov. Noem and her allies in the legislature failed to respect these basic democratic ideals this week in their rush to railroad SB 189 through the Legislature.”