PIERRE — As the protest camp emptied Wednesday morning of most of the people battling the Dakota Access pipeline crossing of the Missouri River in North Dakota, legislators in South Dakota began considering a potential state law aimed at punishing protests over another oil pipeline.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants temporary powers to stop people from assembling in South Dakota, in places that would be designated as public safety zones by the governor.
The governor wants a new offense called aggravated criminal trespass for people who defy orders to stay out of public safety zones, and the authority for judges to put offenders in jail for up to a year for first offenses, and in prison for two years for second or subsequent offenses.
One part of the proposed law would punish protesters who block highways. It specifically allows prohibiting people from standing outside vehicles on a highway in a public safety zone.