South Dakota Governor Signs Two Pipeline Bills, Suggests Speeding Up Two Others

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KELO Pipeline

Governor Kristi Noem signed into law Wednesday two bills that take effect immediately dealing with pipeline projects and protests in South Dakota.

She also called for the Legislature to approve style-and-form vetoes so her habitat funding bill can get money faster and to keep in place a fund that helps local government build space for juvenile offenders.

State lawmakers return Friday to the Capitol for the final day of the 2019 session.

Still, on the governor’s desk as of Wednesday afternoon were 30 pieces of legislation — 11 that began in the House and 19 from the Senate — whose fates remained publicly unknown.

Four hours later, all 30 had been signed into law.

Noem’s office meanwhile issued several releases Wednesday announcing decisions.

She asked for lawmakers to approve a style-and-form veto on HB 1186 that intended to keep the state’s juvenile justice detention cost-sharing fund from expiring June 30. The bill as passed takes effect July 1 and Noem wants the date changed to June 28.

The bill originally was a proposal to have state government pay counties for their costs prosecuting and defending inmates accused of state felony crimes.

The original prime sponsor was freshman Rep. Caleb Finck, R-Tripp, and its original lead sponsor in Senate was another first-year lawmaker, Rocky Blare, R-Ideal.

The Senate Appropriations Committee gutted it and inserted the new language. That final version passed 34-0 in Senate and 63-3 in House. It reflected some lawmakers’ concern that penalties were too lax on juveniles.

Another style-and-form change Noem requested Wednesday would shift the effective date to June 28 for her Second Century Habitat fund.

She said the original intent of SB 176 was to use $1 million available in the current fiscal year that ends June 30. Without the change it would take effect July 1 and throw the 2020 budget out of balance.

Lawmakers took six weeks to decide how much, if any, money to put into the habitat fund before agreeing in a Senate-House conference committee on her original $1 million request.

The final March 12 version passed the Senate 24-6 — exactly the two-thirds majority it needed — and the House with one extra yes 48-14.

Mid-afternoon Wednesday the governor announced she had signed into law the two pipeline bills that immediately became law because of emergency clauses.

They are intended to protect state and local governments and third parties for law enforcement and similar costs, including if peaceful protests turn into riots.

SB 189 creates a mechanism to collect triple damages from any person convicted of riot boosting. Lawmakers approved it 30-4 in the Senate and 53-13 in the House.

SB 190 establishes a fund to reimburse state and local governments for their costs on pipeline projects, with each project paying a $1 million bond for every 10 miles, up to $20 million. Senators voted 31-3 and representatives 58-8.

Tribal leaders complained they were omitted from the lawmaking process that lasted only four days. Noem had previously said multiple times at weekly news conferences that she was working on the legislation.

Several tribal governments retaliated after the bills passed, by refusing to have tribal flags displayed in the state Capitol rotunda. Noem had suggested the flags idea when she spoke at a Capitol gathering of tribal people.

TransCanada has been waiting to lay the Keystone XL oil pipeline through western and south-central counties of South Dakota on a route from Alberta into Nebraska.

County governments in South Dakota wanted the financial assistance after seeing protests against the Dakota Access pipeline turn violent in North Dakota.

In a statement Wednesday, the governor said her pipeline package put freedoms of speech and assembly within the context of “clear expectations and the rule of law.

My pipeline bills make clear that we will not let rioters control our economic development. These bills support constitutional rights while also protecting our people, our counties, our environment, and our state, Noem said.

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