ACTION ALERT: “Public Safety” Bill Makes Protesters Felons

“Public Safety” Bill Gives Governor War Powers; Makes Protesters Felons


SB 176 started out as a “shell” or empty bill entitled, ”Accommodate Legislation Relating to the Protection of Public Safety.” It has become a bill giving the governor enhanced powers when dealing with protests.

This desecration of the people’s First Amendment right to peaceably assemble will be heard in Senate State Affairs Committee this Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 10am in Room 414 at the Capitol. We urge members and others to show up and pack the meeting room to testify against this chilling bill.

An article posted in the Argus Leader alerted us to an amendment proving that this is a move to enhance the governor’s powers to declare a “public safety zone” during protests wherein protesters could be charged with “aggravated criminal trespass”–a Class 1 misdemeanor–and is specifically targeted against the potential for protests against the KXL pipeline. If that protester has already been charged for trespass within the last two years–even in another state–the charge automatically increases to a Class 6 FELONY.

Another good description of the potential effects of this bill can be found on the Dakota Free Press blog (click here).

If you can’t come–contact members of the Senate State Affairs Committee and urge them to vote NO on this bad bill.

Senate State Affairs Committee

(click on the name to see contact information)

Bolin, Jim

Curd, R. Blake

Ewing, Bob (Chair)

Heinert, Troy

Langer, Kris

Maher, Ryan

Netherton, Jenna (Vice Chair)

Novstrup, Al

Sutton, Billie



  1. Ronda Hawk says:

    When I witnessed the police brutality against peaceful water protectors, trespassing and taken trust land without asking individual landowners. We just went back 200 years to how our land, legal rights were taken away because of greed and money! 200 years ago it was the Black Hills (PahaSapa) they wanted the gold. Now this! When the Black people did that Million Man March in Washington, DC to stand up for their rights was legislation change? No! They came out in thousands stood up, died for their freedom and rights. WE THE FIRST AMERICANS NEED TO DO THE SAME. To our tribal leaders, get buses, vans,etc…to transport your people to Washington, D.C.

  2. Margaret Compton says:

    Whether you agree with the Sacred Water Protectors stand or not, this bill violates everyone’s First Amendment rights of free speech and to assemble!

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