Joint Appropriations Committee passes pipeline protest bill

PIERRE, S.D. (KCCR) – Last-minute legislation designed to cover extraordinary law enforcement costs associated to possible protests of the Keystone X-L pipeline passed the Joint Appropriations Committee Wednesday. Legislators listened to over three hours of testimony on Senate Bills 189 and 190. Pierre lawyer Dick Tiezen, representing the South Dakota Sheriff’s Association says the state’s sheriffs back the bill.

Also testifying in support were lobbyist for the state’s County Commissions and Stockgrower’s Association. Lyman County State’s Attorney Steve Smith was one of many opposing the legislative package.

Opposition also came from members of the Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Yankton Souix Tribes along with Dakota Rural Action and the American Civil Liberties Union. During Committee discuss, Representative Taffy Howard of Rapid City was concerned that the Public Utilities Commission was not among the agencies with input in the bills.

Senate Bill 189 was approved 14 to 4. Senator Ryan Maher attempted to amend Senate Bill 190 to include tribal entities to be able to recover money as well. That amendment failed and the bill passed 15 to 3. The packages move on now to the Senate floor.