SD Gov. Dennis Daugaard signs protest measure into law

FILE PHOTO - In this Jan. 10, 2017, file photo, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard waits to give his State of the State address at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D. An aide to Daugaard said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, that Daugaard's office is pursuing legislation this session to make sure South Dakota is prepared for potential protests based on lessons North Dakota learned from large demonstrations over the Dakota Access pipeline last year. (AP Photo/James Nord, File)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed into law a bill that he proposed to address potential oil pipeline protests in South Dakota.

The Republican this week signed the measure, which imposes new penalties for standing in the highway to stop traffic or trespassing in posted emergency areas.

Under some circumstances, it also allows the commissioner of school and public lands, at the request of the governor and local sheriff, to block groups larger than 20 people from gathering on land under the office’s supervision.

Daugaard says he brought the bill to protect peaceful protesters and the people who live and travel in South Dakota. The governor sent letters to tribal leaders inviting conversation on potential protests.

Critics argue the measure could target Native Americans. An emergency provision means it takes effect immediately.


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