ACLU: Noem agrees to settle ‘riot boosting’ lawsuit

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota announced a settlement agreement with South Dakota Governor Krisit Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on the “Riot Boosting” Act passed in March. 

According to a news release from the ACLU, the state agreed to never enforce current state laws that prohibit protected speech. The law was passed to prevent future protests of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

In September, a federal district judge found the anti-protest provisions of the law unconstitutional and blocked state officials from enforcing them. The ACLU says the agreed upon settlement will make that ruling permanent once approved in court. 

“The state’s anti-protest efforts were plainly unconstitutional. This settlement helps ensure that no one has to fear the government coming after them for exercising their First Amendment right to protest. This settlement should also serve as a lesson for other legislatures considering similar anti-protest efforts,” Stephen Pevar with the ACLU said in a statement.

Shortly after the ACLU announcement, Noem’s office released a statement on the settlement. 

“Today, my team reached an agreement that will resolve the Dakota Rural Action v. Noem litigation.  If the court approves our agreement, the state can begin work to update crimes that have been on the books since South Dakota became a state. We remain focused on preserving law and order while protecting the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. It’s important to note that it is still illegal to riot in South Dakota. No one has the right to incite violence.

My team and I are continuing to work to protect people, property, and the environment, all while making sure the crimes on our books are in line with current constitutional law.”

This is a developing story.

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