New SD riot related statutes challenged in Federal Court

Outside of Federal Courthouse in Rapid City
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV)- Four groups represented by the ACLU were in Federal Court Wednesday arguing against two South Dakota laws which target potential protests over the proposed Keystone X-L pipeline.

If plans for the pipeline move forward, the proposed pipeline would cross through portions of South Dakota including Pennington County.

Governor Kristi Noem has said the bills are aimed at preventing outside interests from funding any protests that could end up causing damage, and which could cost tax payers big money to keep riots contained.

See related story Community members make their voice heard against Gov. Noem's pipeline bills

Both the main courtroom and the overflow courtroom were full, and a third court room was opened to handle additional overflow.
Between the two sides, there are roughly 30 attorneys involved.

There were two main items at issue Wednesday in Federal Court in Rapid City.

Judge Lawrence Piersol began by hearing arguments regarding Sheriff Kevin Thom's request to be dismissed as a defendant.
Judge Piersol took that request under advisement.

The second part of the hearing focused on pipeline opponents' request for a Preliminary Injunction against enforcing the new statutes.

A lot of discussion centered around differing opinions about what the new laws really mean.

The plaintiffs argued that the wording is vague, and that their right to free speech is currently being violated because of those laws.
The state's legal team argued that the laws only apply during an actual riot, and do not apply to anyone who incites a riot ahead of time, nor do they apply now since there's not currently a riot taking place.

Judge Piersol said that stance differs from Governor Noem's public statements.
The judge adjourned Wednesday evening with no indication of when he'll make a ruling, on either issue.