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South Dakota Legislature - Invents a New Legal Term - Target Pipeline Protesters

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EvadingGrid

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The South Dakota Legislature Has Invented a New Legal Term to Target Pipeline Protesters
http://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/rights-protesters/south-dakota-legislature-has-invented-new-legal-term-target





'The government of South Dakota has made it very clear that it does not like people who protest the Keystone XL pipeline. The state’s governor has dismissed them as “out-of-staters who come in to disrupt.” And other officials have similarly leveraged long-debunked and harmful tropes, mischaracterizing those speaking out as “paid protesters.”

In this atmosphere, South Dakota enacted a new law last week, the Riot Boosting Act. The law seeks to suppress protests before they even start and prohibits people from engaging in full-throated advocacy. It does so by creating a new, ambiguous term: “riot boosting.” If you’re wondering what that means, so is everyone else, including those who want to speak out. And that’s a big problem.

The new law gives the state the authority to sue individuals and organizations for “riot boosting,” but it does not clearly describe what speech or conduct it considers to be “riot boosting.” The law is written so broadly that even a tweet encouraging activists to “Join a protest to stop the pipeline and give it all you’ve got!” could be interpreted as “riot-boosting” should a fight break out at the protest. The law joins two existing state criminal laws that also target such speech, meaning that advocacy could now result in up to 25 years of prison time, fines, or civil penalties — or a combination of all three.'



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