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Rush to Pass Protest-Suppression Bills Shows Noem Doesn’t Care About Transparency

Governor Kristi Noem is showing us that her commitment to transparency and openness is far thinner than tar sands oil.

The public got its one and only chance to testify against Senate Bill 189 and Senate Bill 190 this morning. Less than 48 hours after she made public her surprise emergency pipeline-protest-suppression package, the Joint Committee on Appropriations took these odious bills up at 8:00 a.m. sharp.

The real power behind Noem’s throne, private lobbyist extraordinaire Matt McCaulley came back to represent the Governor’s Office on both bills in the hearing. Lakota legislators, tribal members, Dakota Rural Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sierra Club, still managed to rally against Noem’s surprise attack on tribal activism, but the Republican majority ignored their arguments and passed both bills.

Under Joint Rule 6D-1, bills approved by Joint Appropriations need not go through a second committee hearing. The Senate can thus give SB 189 and SB 190 second reading tomorrow morning at 10:00 and vote to pass them immediately. If the Senate acts with the alacrity Governor Noem wants, the House, scheduled to convene at 11:00 a.m., could suspend the rules by a two-thirds vote and approve both bills before lunch. With no chance for crackerbarrel discussion, no consultation with the tribes, no chance for any bigger opposition to mobilize in Pierre, Governor Noem could have her protest-suppression bills on her desk to sign before she drives home to Hayti for the weekend.

Passing bills in one week, with only one committee hearing, one chance for public input, while most voters are slogging through the work week and have no chance to speak to their legislators face to face back home and ask where the heck the Governor is getting her information, does not exemplify a desire to “give you unprecedented access to the government decision-making process.” The rush to pass SB 189 and SB 190 exemplifies exactly the secretive, crony machinations that Noem said she would change.

Related Reading: The ACLU knows Noem’s fake-emergency bills are about shutting up strong Native voices:

Though proponents of the bill allege that they are concerned only about riots, the context is clear: this legislation is a direct reaction to some of the most effective protests in modern American history, including the work done by water protectors challenging the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.

“Senate Bill 189 is, simply put, precisely about speech and protest,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of South Dakota policy director. “This bill creates an entirely new category of civil liability under South Dakota law that is motivated by a fear of speech and protest. The bill’s language is extremely broad and reaches people exercising their right to free speech and assembly and will chill free speech. It attempts to blur the line between constitutionally-protected speech and unlawful actions and would catch many innocent protestors in its wide net” [American Civill Liberties Union of South Dakota, press release, 2019.03.06].

The ACLU posts the redoubtable Libby Skarin’s testimony to the Joint Appropriations Committee here.


  1. John 2019-03-06

    She likely may be a bigger legislative criminal than her orange heart-throb.

  2. Roger Cornelius 2019-03-06

    If Governor Noem thinks that this last minute sneaky legislation targeting Indians is going to deter protesting the Keystone XL, she best think again.
    Water protectors have their agenda and it doesn’t include reading the white man’s law and behaving nice when it comes to protecting our lands and water.

  3. grudznick 2019-03-06

    Well, at least we can all thank the demons from hell that she didn’t have that other Lobbist Extraordinaire Fellow pushing these law bills just for the purpose of annoying Mr. Pay and riling up the out-of-state name-callers for no purpose beyond getting their goats.

  4. Donald Pay 2019-03-06

    Grudz would have been an excellent surrogate for Hitler.

  5. grudznick 2019-03-06

    Mr. Pay, that has to be the fastest example of Godwin’s Law the South Dakota Blogosphere has ever seen.

  6. Donald Pay 2019-03-06

    Memo to Nazis: You must have missed the 2016 election results. Godwin’s Law has been rescinded since the White Nationalist Party installed Trump as Fuhrer.

  7. Donald Pay 2019-03-06


    Students here are organizing around a student-led Global Climate Strike on Friday, March 15. They are walking out of schools to support a global climate policy designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In my area the students are calling for NO MORE PIPELINES.

    I think we can all agree with that.

    I urge and encourage all students to organize for the future, and WALK OUT ON MARCH 15.

    Here is a link to the International Site:

  8. leslie 2019-03-07

    Well I guess we have two republicans who failed civics. $129k legal/lobbying fees psst!

  9. leslie 2019-03-07

    So who wrote her bills, LRC or McDonald’s Esq? And did she actually shutdown the text website to interfer with review and preparation by water protectors and objectors to the bills? And if crimes, are they “malum in se”, or requiring proof of intent, or specifically?

  10. leslie 2019-03-07

    Kristi wears a tactical ball cap in every Twitter text, perhaps a nod to armed volunteers like OATHKEEPERS who target George Soros on the internet, the armed militia that assisted the Bundy aggressive defense in NV against government LEOs attempting to seize trespassing cattle, and the armed takeover and roll up on FBI and other local LEOs at Harney Lake wildlife reserve at Malhuer Federal DOI facility, and at Burns OR. Kristi’s targeting of Soros is reminiscent of Trump attacking Boeing, and many other corporate citizens that do not share Trump’s view at any particular time.

  11. mike from iowa 2019-03-07

    Grudzilla, I can assure you the name calling is free and well deserved. I speak truth as truth is spoken among men.

  12. Donald Pay 2019-03-07

    Yes, Cory, I love a good riot now and then. I love the smell of tear gas in the morning. I’m addicted to riot. I’m steeped in riot. So, yeah, I’m using your blog to boost riot, which means YOU, too, are guilty of boosting riot. And anyone who reads your blog is guilty of riot. Grudz, especially.

    All the signs indicate this is about more than pipeline protests. This is really about setting up South Dakota for a nuclear waste dump. Trump has been moving plutonium around without telling anyone. Some got stored in Nevada without the Governor’s knowledge. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Igloo area hasn’t had some recent activity along these lines.

    The Republicans are taking away the initiative, which South Dakota used to stop the nuclear waste in the mid-80s without violence, though it certainly could have come to that. Clearly, a nuke dump in the Dakotas is something that has been in the works for over 40 years, part of making the Dakotas a sacrifice area. Trump’s war on agriculture is part of the “hollowing out of the Dakotas to make a sacrifice area” strategy that was initially developed in the Ford Administration. That policy met with considerable success with the farm crisis in the 1980s.

    With Trump’s war on agriculture Republicans are doing everything they can to make the eastern Dakotas an economic basket case. That’s where the borehole targets are located. The target is eastern South Dakota for the borehole and western South Dakota for the shale repository.

    In preparation SD Republicans are doing their best to neuter the public’s rights to fight it. As Lee Schoenbeck and Grudz know, it comes in as #4Science and ends with Trump’s Dump.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-07

    Pipeline protests that are powered by petroleum do not make sense. In particular the travel back and forth to said protests has a carbon footprint.

    The best protest against fossil fuels is to support measures that displace fossil fuels (such as going to meetings, etc. in electric vehicles powered by renewables). But that would be inconvenient, and it would cost more. But taking steps in that direction is better than imposing a cold turkey solution without having a better alternative that costs nearly the same or less.

    Clean water is a different ball game. There is no hypocrisy in promoting a more efficient use of the resource and a more safe use of said resource, while still using said resource.

  14. jerry 2019-03-07

    So if you do not have an electric car, then your out of luck to protest. Sounds so GNOem to me. Rhoden will probably make that as an attachment to this fascism.

  15. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-07

    The federal government responded to a lawful directive to remove plutonium from South Carolina. And telling everybody where the plutonium was going would expose the plutonium to proliferation risks. So either you are for nuclear nonproliferation, or you are not.

    The plutonium in question should have been down-blended into a MOx fuel and consumed in a reactor for peaceful nuclear-generated electricity. But once that program was ended, the plutonium had to be stored somewhere else.

    Of interest was its safe transport without incident. #Fact

    The real waste of course is burying the 90% of the energy that still remains in the nuclear waste. Not solving the nuclear waste issue politically means that we will burn more fossil fuel than we need to in order to back up our renewables.

    Sorry, but nuclear waste does not come in containers of green slime as seen on the Simpsons. And there is much more interest in reinvigorating efforts for Yucca Mountain or having an above ground or near surface temporary storage facility. The latter would be important for nuclear plants that have been shut down only to become de facto storage locations.

    I would rather there be more interest in recycling/reprocessing or the development specialized reactors consume wastes directly. The latter would either be a Bill Gates design, or something like a CANDU reactor (the canadian design that consumes natural uranium without the need for enrichment).

    What should concern you is the much larger volume of solar panels and wind turbine blades that we will have to deal with in 30 years. We will get some extra energy by burning them to reduce the waste, but we will return some of those carbon savings from solar and wind technologies in the process. There are a lot of petroleum-based materials in each of those, and fossil fuels are consumed in their manufacture. If you are really against fossil fuels, you have to deal with the industrial side, not just the commercial production of electricity.

  16. Donald Pay 2019-03-07

    Dr. McT, that kind of thinking is a recipe for doing nothing, and has been dealt with long ago by the environmental movement. If you are a slave, would you use the master’s property to get to the anti-slavery protest? Uh, Duh.

    These days there are ways to offset your use of a petrol power auto through carbon credits. I set myself up to pay extra on my power bill for a higher portion of renewable energy in my personal energy portfolio. I’ve been doing this for 19 years, since I moved from South Dakota to Wisconsin. Black Hills Power didn’t have this option available, but Alliant Energy and MG&E does. I have a lot of carbon credits banked to drive my high mileage vehicle out to riot and boost riots in South Dakota.

  17. Donald Pay 2019-03-07

    MOX was an economic disaster, and it generates more waste than was originally there. If there was a cost meter on MOX it would be running at the speed of light. This was a Trump Administration decision not to fund this travesty. Not sure he made the decision for the right reasons, but, still, a good decision to end this nonsense, as MOX generates a far more potent proliferation risk.

  18. jerry 2019-03-07

    What does this have to do with Gnoem’s fascism land grab to stifle protests at the Keystone?

  19. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-07

    No, that isn’t a call for doing nothing, that is a call for doing things the right way. One could raise the money and then spend the money to avoid carbon emissions, but that is typically not done. Protesting is not cheap, and buying a new vehicle and an energy storage system plus solar panels just for a protest would not be cheap.

    Using fossil fuels lowers the bar for such a protest to occur. It is just in this case, the protest happens to ironically be about fossil fuels!

    I think my point is that if it were feasible to go 100% renewable to support such activities, it would have happened already. And if we cannot do that on such a small scale, then we how are we ready to impose such a transition nationwide?

    Maybe that will be different in 100 years (I like research ….#4Science)…but not right now. The big things are really the supply of critical elements that renewables/storage/carbon capture need, and the waste management issues.

    The good news is we do not have to wait for renewables + storage + carbon capture to become completely feasible. As those technologies improve and are more cost-effective, let’s incorporate more of them. If they do not work as promised….no worries, we will already have a carbon-free economy.

    Ugh: Carbon credits and carbon taxes. Sometimes worse than horse farts. There are a couple ways of viewing carbon credits. First, carbon credits make you feel good that you are not consuming the carbon, someone else is. But the carbon is still consumed. It is not like the wind turbine starts turning just for you when you start using energy because you have purchased the credits.

    Second, it is in effect a subsidy, since wind and solar generate income only when they are generating energy…but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you want more renewables and are willing to pay extra to make that happen, then I don’t see why that is a problem.

  20. Robert McTaggart 2019-03-07

    Jerry….the better protest is to show that carbon-free strategies work to displace the use of fossil fuels.

    We can have a near 100% carbon-free strategy if we really want to, but that just wouldn’t be all renewables all the time.

    Donald…It’s a good question as to whether the current form of MOx would be the best way. But MOx would eliminate plutonium via its consumption. One could design a different fuel type or a different kind of reactor to consume plutonium, but that would take several years to do. Direct burial is probably the cheapest approach today, so that is what they chose.

    You would have a series of lighter elements that are radioactive, but they would not have the same chemistry as plutonium. Furthermore they would decay much faster than the plutonium would by placing it directly into storage….so the isolation time and the heat production would be reduced.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-07

    Almost exactly as I outlined above, Senate rushed to pass these two bills this morning, House is debating them right now.

    Republican legislators fuss about the lack of protection for free speech they imagine on our college campuses, but they are rushing to chill free speech along the Keystone XL pipeline route. Hypocrites.

  22. jerry 2019-03-07

    And one could fight windmills in La Mancha with Don Quixote atop Rocinante and his sidekick Sancho Panza, with Dapple. Gnoem would probably figure a way to call those animals ringleaders. The facts are in we are tapped out financially. Vehicle sales are dropping while tariff costs have made for real problems.

    “As one of the lowest-volume months for new U.S. light-vehicle sales, January is seldom the best barometer of how the year will pan out. But surging interest rates on auto loans and steadily rising vehicle prices make clear that automakers will be hard-pressed to produce sales gains in 2019.

    The average interest rate on new vehicles rose last month to 6.19 percent — the second highest in 10 years — from 4.99 percent a year ago, according to Edmunds. And Kelley Blue Book said the industry’s average transaction price rose 4.2 percent to $37,149. Combined, those factors mean a big jump in the monthly payment for many consumers interested in trading up.”

    So, why do we need this oil that no one wants? Maybe it’s because it’s not about the oil but the scam.

  23. Debbo 2019-03-07

    I’m all for supporting the Indians and anyone else who wants to protest pipelines and environmental degradation. I’ll send a little $ if I can spare it. Since I live in Minnesota, mine is out of state $. Am I guilty of “riot boosting?”

    (BTW, that’s the stupidest term I’ve ever seen anyone invent for an unconstitutional fake crime.)

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-09

    Pipeline construction that is powered by petroleum does not make sense. Make TransCanada haul all of its pipe with electric vehicles.

    Debbo, yeah, the state probably will try to sue you. Stay tuned.

    Thinking of Donald’s early comment on Godwin’s Law, with Trump and Noem in charge, numerous major policy arguments start with corporate fascism and entirely apt analogies to Hitler and Mussolini.

    Or maybe Trump and Noem demonstrate a broader version of Godwin’s Law: As a democracy grows longer, the probability of Nazis or Hitlerites winning an election approaches 1.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-03-09

    As Mike Godwin himself said in 2017…:

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