Gov. Noem asks the feds for help in getting tribal checkpoints moved


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Affidavits and videos of what South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem describes as “unlawful” checkpoints by tribes in the state has been turned over to the federal government.

Noem says the evidence was collected as part of an investigation by the state Attorney General. Noem says the state doesn’t want checkpoints on U.S. and state highways. She has said repeatedly the checkpoints can be on BIA roads.

The governor says she’s provided the evidence and an affidavit to the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Interior, Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Congressman Johnson asking for assistance in resolving the issue.

Tribes throughout South Dakota have set up checkpoints along major roads and highways that lead into reservations. Officers will stop vehicles and ask people a series of questions before they can enter.

Some of the checkpoints have been in place since April. The goal is to protect people from COVID-19. 

Noem has said the state hopes to see a resolution in the matter. Because the tribes haven’t moved the checkpoints yet, the state is turning to the federal government for help.

Also during Wednesday’s briefing, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon talked about help available for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams from a variety of state departments are available to review best practices to limit the spread of the virus.

She says the state is offering tests for workers at critical infrastructure businesses if there is a positive case. Malsam-Rysdon says there are also efforts for businesses that have had COVID-19 cases to take to ensure that when employees return to the job, they’re protected.

Governor Noem says one nursing home facility has finished testing of residents and staff already as part of the mass testing happening across South Dakota.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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