A bill that expands the governor’s ability to respond to potential protests has passed through the legislature with an emergency clause.
That’s what kept the bill from reaching the governor’s desk, until now.
Senate bill 176 allows the governor to prohibit no more than 20 people on school and public land, allow outside council for criminal defense and stiffens penalties to prevent protestors from blocking highways and occupying highway right of ways.
Because of the emergency clause, 176 will go into effect once the governor signs the bill. The required two thirds majority vote is what held up the bill in the legislature.
Some house democrats changed their vote after public safety officials briefed them on potential actions in the future.
Democrat Representative Dan Ahlers voted no against the bill, but changed his vote after being informed about safety concerns regarding actions against the Keystone XL pipeline…
“I talked to our local sheriff and collected a little more info and data and decided I wanted to hedge on the side of safety and continue to work. Hopefully with this letter from the governor to the tribes, to get them together and meet, maybe we can mend a few fences there too.”
Ahlers wouldn’t comment on what information he received.
Several conservative lawmakers change their vote on the bill after a meeting with the governor over expanding gun laws in the state.
Governor Daugaard confirmed that letters were sent to the tribes last week, encouraging communication with the state on how to handle potential Keystone XL pipeline protests.
Senator Troy Heinert is critical of the legislation. He says the bill will push state and tribal relations further apart.