PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s public safety bill anticipating potential oil pipeline protests has passed its first legislative test.
A Senate panel voted 6-3 Wednesday to approve it over the objections of Democrats and tribal officials.
The bill would clarify that the governor’s emergency response authority applies to potentially destructive protests, create new trespassing penalties and make it a crime to obstruct highways. If passed, the law would expire in 2020.
Matt Konenkamp, a policy adviser to the governor, says that if the Keystone XL pipeline is built, it’s likely that South Dakota would see large-scale protests.
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chairman Brandon Sazue says the bill would further divide the state and South Dakota tribes.
Daugaard’s office has said it’s based on lessons North Dakota learned from Dakota Access pipeline protests.
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