South Dakota will pay $145,000 in legal fees as part of its settlement with the ACLU that says it won't enforce two anti-riot statutes and parts of new laws aimed at those who protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Gov. Kristi Noem announced the settlement fees Thursday evening on her Twitter page.
"When I became governor, I committed to transparency as the cornerstone of my administration. You should know where your tax dollars go," she said, adding that the money will come from the state's Extraordinary Litigation Fund.
When I became governor, I committed to transparency as the cornerstone of my administration. You should know where your tax dollars go. Today, we settled that the State of South Dakota will pay $145,000 in legal fees that were accrued through the litigation of DRA v. Noem.— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) November 1, 2019
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"Now that this is settled, we will continue preserving law and order, while making sure the crimes on our books are in line with current constitutional laws," Noem tweeted.
The settlement comes after the ACLU sued Noem and Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and after a federal judge ruled in September that parts of the laws violate the First Amendment and temporarily ordered the state not to enforce them.
The ACLU sued on behalf of the Sierra Club, Indigenous Environmental Network, Dakota Rural Action, NDN Collective, Dallas Goldtooth of IEN, and Nick Tilsen of NDN Collective. All say they are planning to non-violently protest the pipeline and encourage others to do so but feared criminal or civil liability under the laws passed in the last legislative session.
Noem and Ravnsborg will send letters to state's attorneys to let them know about the agreement and which laws or parts of laws they can no longer enforce, the settlement says. A federal judge will hold hearings to resolve any accusations of people not following the settlement. The agreement will only end if the unconstitutional parts of the laws are "substantially revised" by the Legislature, and both Noem and Ravnsborg told the Journal they plan to revise laws to make sure they balance free speech and public safety.