PIERRE, S.D. (CN) – Responding to the massive Dakota Access Pipeline protests that unfolded throughout 2016 in North Dakota, South Dakota’s governor has signed into law a bill that would expand the power of his office to curtail protest activities in the state.
Senate Bill 176 allows the governor to set up “public safety zones” in which protest activities can be limited to gatherings of 20 people or less. It also authorizes the state’s Department of Transportation to restrict protester access to highways by prohibiting “stopping, standing or parking” in certain areas.
The law, which is a direct response to the Native American-led massive protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, does not sit well with the state’s nine tribes and other advocates of free speech.