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Many of the provisions of South Dakota's new riot boosting laws have now been put on hold. Federal Judge Lawrence Piersol issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The order prohibits the governor and attorney general from enforcing aspects of the legislation passed in 2019, as well as two old statutes criminalizing the support of activists whose conduct turns violent.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks

One of the defendants in a lawsuit against South Dakota's newly-enacted "riot boosting" law has been dismissed. That order came out on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom was listed as a defendant along with Governor Kristi Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg.

ACLU filed suit on behalf of indigenous and environmental activists who say the law squelches their right to free speech.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Dakota Political Junkies: Surveillance Balloons

Aug 7, 2019
Joshua Haiar

In The Moment ... August 7, 2019 Show 632 Hour 2

The Pentagon is launching balloons over the Midwest, including South Dakota, for drug surveillance. The American Civil Liberties Union has conveyed concerns over privacy.

South Dakota voters could be deciding on a medical marijuana measure in November, 2020, if proponents gather enough signatures by this November.

Dakota Political Junkies Jon Hunter and Jon Schaff discuss these issues and more.

Victoria Wicks

South Dakota's "riot boosting" laws faced judicial scrutiny on Wednesday, June 12, in a Rapid City federal courtroom.

The riot boosting law that was passed in the 2019 legislative session works with old rioting laws to threaten protestors and their supporters with criminal and civil penalties.

Opponents say the laws violate free speech.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks was in the courtroom.

To hear long coverage of the riot boosting legislation, click on this link:

ACLU SD

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a challenge to a new South Dakota law designed to protect construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from "riot boosters."

Governor Kristi Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg are included as defendants. In the last full week of the 2019 legislative session, Noem pushed through two bills to prevent another Standing Rock situation if the Keystone XL pipeline is built.

Noem signed the new legislation on Wednesday, March 27, and the ACLU filed its complaint in South Dakota federal court on Thursday, March 28.

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... January 3, 2019 Show 487 Hour 2

The ACLU of South Dakota is holding its first Activist Academy, a series of comprehensive trainings across the state to show South Dakotans ways to make a difference in their community on a local and state level.

ACLU Policy Director Libby Skarin, joined us with more information on the event and to discuss the ACLU's priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

Montana ACLU

The Montana ACLU has filed suit against four federal agencies in conjunction with the Keystone XL pipeline project. ACLU is alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act.

The legal director says ACLU was stonewalled by the U.S. departments of Justice, Interior, Defense, and Homeland Security after asking about their training of local and state law enforcement agencies to counteract protestors.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks file photo

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that South Dakota officials violated the Indian Child Welfare Act. Now the ACLU attorney who represented the plaintiffs says he plans to ask the Eighth Circuit to reconsider, even though the state officials have made the changes to custody hearings that the plaintiffs were seeking.

SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... August 6, 2018 Show 394 Hour 1

What is the difference between Smart Justice and Criminal Justice?

How can South Dakota expand the use of alternatives to incarceration?

How does the South Dakota Attorney General set the tone for effective diversion programs?

Heather Smith, Executive Director of ACLU of South Dakota, and Libby Skarin, Policy Director of ACLU, joined In The Moment to discuss possible improvements to South Dakota's criminal justice system

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is now deliberating the federal lawsuit alleging unlawful handling of emergency hearings in Pennington County. Three appellate judges heard oral arguments in St. Paul on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Two tribes, along with Native parents, filed suit almost five years ago against the Seventh Circuit Court, the Pennington County State's Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services. They say officials in these agencies violate the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as due process protections under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Five years ago tribes and parents sued state and county officials in Pennington County for violating the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from those officials' lawyers, who say their clients should not have been sued because they didn't create the questioned policies. The officials are appealing a federal judge's decision that forced changes in the way emergency hearings are held in child custody cases. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this report.

Victoria Wicks file photo

Last year a federal judge in Rapid City ruled that the rights of Indian parents have been systematically violated in Pennington County.

At issue are hearings held within 48 hours of the removal of children from their homes on allegations of abuse or neglect. At those hearings, judges determine whether the child returns home or stays in state custody pending further hearings.

Judge Jeffrey Viken found that officials violated parents' due process rights and the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. He ordered officials to change their practices to fix the problems.

courtesy photo

A federal judge has ordered Seventh Circuit and Pennington County officials to stop violating the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Judge Jeffrey Viken's order affects emergency hearings held within 48 hours of the removal of children from their parent or guardian's care.

The judge's order responds to a lawsuit filed in Rapid City in March 2013 and resolves seven of eight issues. SDPB's Victoria Wicks reports on this latest development.

Transgender Bathroom Bill Could Return On 2018 Ballot

Nov 22, 2016
Chynna Lockett / SDPB

A version of the transgender bathroom bill that was vetoed by Governor Dennis Daugaard earlier this year could make its way to the 2018 ballot for a public vote.

A group is pushing for enough signatures to bring the issue of transgender students and bathroom usage to voters statewide.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says supporters are about to start circulating petitions for measure that requires transgender students use the bathroom corresponding with their assigned sex at birth.

Victoria Wicks

A lawsuit filed in March 2013 alleging violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act is coming to an end in federal court in Rapid City. Plaintiffs allege the Seventh Circuit Court, the Department of Social Services, and the Pennington County State's Attorney violate the act at hearings required to be held within 48 hours after children are removed from their homes.

Parties gathered on Wednesday, Aug. 17, to hammer out what remedies are needed. But woven into the discussion was the surety that defendants will appeal to the Eighth Circuit.

Victoria Wicks

An ACLU lawyer says South Dakota is looking good compared with certain other states when it comes to voting rights. Courtney Bowie was in Rapid City Thursday to give a presentation on this state's voting laws. She says a federal judge in North Dakota just declared that state's voting process unconstitutional because it puts up barriers to Native voters. But South Dakota has protections in place that make registering fairly easy and that allow for voting by affidavit.

Both abortion rights advocates and opponents in South Dakota agree the recent US Supreme Court decision on a Texas case won’t immediately affect current state law.
 
Libby Skarin is a policy director for the ACLU in South Dakota. She says while the Supreme Court’s decision won’t directly impact state law, it may quell any additional laws that seek to regulate abortion.

Photo by Victoria Wicks

A federal judge has set a hearing date to reach a resolution in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act, or ICWA. Judge Jeffrey Viken ruled more than a year ago that practices in Pennington County violate statutes and the U.S. Constitution. But he told parties at a status hearing on May 26 that recent transcripts show those practices have not changed. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has followed this case since it was filed more than three years ago.

For more information, open the links below, and those stories will give you more links to additional coverage.

Photo by Laurel Hoskins

A lawsuit against Pennington County officials for violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act is moving toward resolution. A hearing in federal court at the end of May will give the state remedies for practices that violate ICWA. And last week, an issue over missing documents was resolved. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has followed this case since it was first filed in 2013.

House Committee Passes Abortion Ban

Mar 2, 2016

A bill banning abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy is continuing through the South Dakota legislature. Members of the House State Affairs Committee passed the measure with a 12 to one vote.

Jenifer Jones

A measure known as the transgender bathroom bill is on its way to the governor’s desk. House Bill 1008 survived the State Senate on Tuesday. Fifteen lawmakers in that chamber oppose the legislation, but 20 support it.

Supporters of the so-called transgender bathroom bill say it protects student privacy by securing restrooms for opposite biological sexes. The bill determines sex based on anatomy and birth certificates. State Senator Brock Greenfield supports the measure.

Photo courtesy of ACLU-SD

The House State Affairs committee has voted to approve a bill that ensures continued state funding and tax breaks for entities that discriminate against gay or transgender people. House Bill 1107 protects organizations or people who act on their religious belief that marriage is reserved for male and female partners and that biological gender is unchangeable.

A bill outlining which students can use which bathrooms in South Dakota schools is past its first legislative hurdle. The House State Affairs committee Monday approved House Bill 1008. Supporters of the measure say it protects student privacy; opponents say the move harms students who are transgender.

South Dakota ACLU Policy Director Libby Skarin joins Dakota Midday for a conversation about House Bill 1008, a bill to "restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools."

Skarin discusses the vulnerability of transgender students, the impact discrimination has on their school attendance and success, and what she says the impact of HB1008 would be on the state of South Dakota as well as on transgender and cisgender students.

ACLU leaders have filed a federal lawsuit over a new election deadline for third-party candidates. The lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota says an earlier date for new parties to get on the ballot violates Constitutional rights. The case is filed Libertarian Party of South Dakota versus Krebs.

South Dakota lawmakers approved a measure that sets the date a candidate must turn in signed petitions a month earlier than it used to be. In January Secretary of State Shantel Krebs explained to lawmakers that an earlier deadline offers more time for scrutiny.