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Federal Judge Stops S.D. Law Restricting Political Speech


A U.S. District Judge has found South Dakota's 2020 restrictions on petition circulators to be unconstitutional.

Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled earlier this week that Senate Bill 180 violates the First Amendment rights of initiated measure proponents, voters, and petition circulators.

SB 180 came about after another South Dakota U.S. District Judge, Charles Kornmann, found House Bill 1094 unconstitutional. That 2018 bill made a more aggressive attempt to rein in petition carriers.

The state appealed that first loss to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and while that appeal was pending, the state legislature passed SB 180 to try to fix what Judge Kornmann found wrong.

The fix didn't work.

Victoria Wicks attempts to untangle the details for SDPB.

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