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Daugaard Spinning Anti-Protest Law

Governor Dennis Daugaard met with tribal officials last week to discuss tribal concerns with Senate Bill 176, the anti-protest law (yes, law: the Legislature included an emergency clause, even though the only “emergency” is the coming of TransCanada’s bulldozers for Keystone XL) written in reaction to the Dakota Access pipeline protest in North Dakota. That’s the meeting that Crow Creek Sioux tribal chairman Brandon Sazue said he wouldn’t attend in protest of the Governor’s racist intervention in the Dakota Access protest.

The state appears to be blowing some smoke on the actual scope of the new law:

State officials also explained that the bill’s provisions extend beyond potential protests and may be useful in other emergency situations and natural disasters [“Governor Meets with Tribal Leaders to Discuss Protest Bill,” Hub City Radio, 2017.04.03].

Other emergency situations and natural disasters? Come on—such events are not the intent of the law. As we discussed before Daugaard removed the martial-law provisions of the original draft of SB 176, the Governor already has extraordinary powers to deal with emergencies and disasters. The watered-down SB 176 only allows the Governor to kick people off public land and harass folks stopped along a road. ***Update 09:05 CDT: SB 176 does add the ability to charge individuals who enter a disaster area without authorization with Class 1 misdemeanor criminal trespass, but that only adds subsequent punishment to the immediate disaster-area powers the Governor has to forcibly detain and evacuate individuals.***

Don’t let the Governor buffalo you: SB 176 doesn’t enhance public safety in emergency situations. It seeks to turn public protest into “emergencies” that warrant police crackdowns.


  1. Mark Winegar 2017-04-04 19:17

    One more example of this government stifling the voice of the people.

  2. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2017-04-04 21:07

    So in other words, our Republican leaders in Pierre have made a “March to Selma” illegal in our time. Just think about those ramifications and the road that we are now truly starting to go down as a people.

  3. Douglas Wiken 2017-04-04 22:16

    Daugaard is working on his goose-stepping. I am surprised there aren’t provisions in this to prevent press coverage of everything. What are these demented clowns afraid of anyway. They must have some dreadful information they need to hide.

  4. barry freed 2017-04-05 09:01

    Funny how Daugaard presents himself as an expert in Constitutional Law when it suits him and utterly ignorant when it comes to the Right to Assemble.
    This is good old fashioned intimidation in a hard era for Print, and it serves to quiet the Press. He will arrest and charge News Reporters with Felonies right along with everyone else, as did the Gov of ND. The RCJ, dogged by Yahoo News and Craigslist advertising, has caved to Lawmaker/big business advertising threats and stopped posting on-line comments. Whistleblowers and those with inside or deeper researched knowledge are silenced, the public kept in the dark. They blame posters such as Frank Smith, and he is a hateful, ignorant troll, but they also silence the polite and knowledgeable Arlo (don’t recall his last name). They claim Letters and Two Cents are enough, but they edit Two Cents making some look stupid, and Rapid can be a dangerous place to voice your thoughts… if you aren’t wealthy or prepared to relocate.
    Today’s RCJ has an op-ed about how we are dependent on transient labor in the HIlls. Their staff writer worked side by side with illegal Mexican loggers in the Beetle Scam, so he ought to know; No comments are allowed in the RCJ to counter his propaganda. Nice public service RCJ.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2017-04-05 13:36

    As long as South Dakota republicans enact laws like this, tribal trust of state government will continue to diminish.
    Any hope of a truth and reconciliation council are now far in the distance unless it is done by private citizens and organizations.

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