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South Dakota governor plans revision of riot-boosting laws

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is planning to have another try at so-called riot-boosting laws next year, despite previously drawing criticism for supporting such laws ahead of protests related to the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Republican governor has written to lawmakers with proposed changes to laws passed earlier this year that were later blocked by a federal judge. The state eventually settled a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union by agreeing not to enforce parts of the laws.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that Noem’s changes would replace the definition of “incitement to riot” with one that meets the constitutional restrictions on free speech. They would also update the civil penalties to follow the proposed bill’s “incitement to riot” language.

Noem drew criticism from Native American tribes in the state for pushing the laws last year ahead of expected protests on Keystone XL pipeline construction.

Noem says the legislation would make it possible to prosecute violent protests while still honouring freedom of speech.

The Associated Press

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