State and Dakota Rural Action reach settlement

PIERRE, S.D. ( — Governor Kristi Noem has agreed not to enforce a key, but controversial part of her new law aimed at violent pipeline protests.

It’s a settlement of the ACLU’s lawsuit on behalf of Dakota Rural Action. It’s the so-called ‘riot boosting’ part of the law that the state has promised not to enforce, the part that essentially could hold organizers or financial backers of protests liable for any violence that might occur.

The ACLU’s Stephen Pevar says part of the reasoning may be that the state knew it couldn’t win in court.

“I’m sure that played into this, that they must have realized that they would likely lose.”

Pevar says the central victory in this settlement is free speech.