Federal court hears arguments in pipeline protest bill suit

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Attorneys for the state of South Dakota say a new law that aims to prevent disruptive demonstrations does not target out-of-state supporters of pipeline protests.

But the American Civil Liberties Union argued in federal court Wednesday that Gov. Kristi Noem's "riot-boosting" bill violates the First and Fourteenth amendments.

The ACLU is suing the state, saying the new law - which was enacted in anticipation of the Keystone XL pipeline - chills protected speech. The state is asking that the lawsuit be dismissed.

The law allows officials to pursue criminal or civil penalties from demonstrators who engage in "riot boosting," which is defined in part as encouraging violence during a riot.

The Rapid City Journal reports that dozens of opponents of the legislation rallied outside the federal courthouse Wednesday.

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