On Wednesday, March 27, Noem's office announced in a news release that the governor signed both Senate Bills 189 and 190. Noem in the release called the package a "two-pronged approach for pipeline construction" and "the next generation model of major energy infrastructure development."
SB 189 establishes a legal avenue and funding source for the state to pursue out-of-state sources that "riot boost," or, according to Noem, fund violent protests that aim to shut down pipeline construction.
"I fully support the freedoms of speech and assembly, but we must also have clear expectations and the rule of law," Noem said in Wednesday's release. "My pipeline bills make clear that we will not let rioters control our economic development. These bills support constitutional rights while also protecting our people, our counties, our environment, and our state."
SB 190 would establish the Pipeline Engagement Activity Coordination Expenses (PEACE) Fund to go toward extraordinary costs attributed to pipeline protests, sourced from local, state and federal dollars, as well as the pipeline company (in Keystone XL's case, TransCanada).
The bills sparked controversy because of when they were introduced, with less than two weeks left in the legislative session and over a month past the deadline to introduce bills for consideration. Rather than follow the typical procedure of holding two hearings on a bill, the Legislature held one joint hearing before suspending the rules to vote in both the House and Senate in the same day.
On Thursday, March 7, SB 189 passed by 30-4 in the Senate and by 53-13 in the House, and SB 190 by 31-3 in the Senate and 58-8 in the House. The votes were held three days after the bill was first introduced by Noem.
Noem said at the time of the bills' passing that she introduced the package in the final days of session because her staff wanted to spend ample time on the package before bringing it forward. The governor's office coordinated with representatives of TransCanada, law enforcement, local governments and state agencies to draft the bills.
South Dakota's nine American Indian tribes were not included in the discussions, another source of controversy around the bill package's process. Faith Spotted Eagle, an activist of the Yankton Sioux tribe, at the package's single hearing on March 6 called it an "ambush."
When she introduced the package, Noem said, "I’m well aware that some of our leaders are not in favor of pipeline, although we should all be in favor of it being peaceful."
Environmental activists like Dakota Rural Action and the Sierra Club also opposed the bill, in addition to the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota (ACLU-SD), which has said SB 189 could infringe upon First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly.
The ACLU-SD, a litigating group, said after SB 189's passage on March 7 it was "weighing all options to ensure the First Amendment rights of South Dakotans are upheld."
The bills go into effect immediately.