New Bill Proposed In North Dakota Would Allow Motorists To Hit Pipeline Protesters

Cars line up at an exit ramp covered in snow at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. Many Dakota Access oil pipeline opponents who've gathered for months in the camp are committed to staying despite wintry weather and demands that they leave. An overnight storm brought several inches of snow, winds gusting to 50 mph and temperatures that felt as cold as 10 degrees below zero. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Despite the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline being halted in December, Energy Transfer Partners plan to continue its operation, and loyal corporate lapdog and GOP lawmaker, Keith Kempenich, has introduced a bill that would essentially legalize hitting protestors with vehicles. Kempenich openly admitted that the bill is in response to the protests against the pipeline, adding the following statement:
It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian. They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.”
According to a report from TYT (see video below), Kempenich also stated that drivers would not be blamed if they, “punch the accelerator, rather than the breaks.”
The bill is in direct “opposition to the United States Constitution and its First Amendment-granted rights of free speech,” according to Alternet. They continue that Kempenich thought of the bill as a “result of his mother-in-law being inconvenienced while driving through protests.”
The Bismarck Tribune reports that a committee hearing has not yet been set for the bill, as Kempenich has stated he wants to change the language. However, Kempenich has called the bill reasonable, even if it will “rarely, if ever, be applicable to occurrences outside of the protests.” North Dakota Highway Gestapo Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson stated, “Our involvement in this would be very minimal and limited.”
In a statement from Native activist, Tara Houska:
It’s shocking to see legislation that allows for people to literally be killed for exercising their right to protest in a public space. These [bills] are meant to criminalize the protests with no real concern for constitutional law.”

Feel free to let Kempenich know what you think:
856 2nd Ave E
Dickinson, North Dakota 58601

Age 57, D.O.B. 07/28/1959
City: Bowman, North Dakota District Office:
Fax: 701-523-3858
9005 151st Avenue SW Bowman, ND 58623-8857
Rancher; Crop Adjuster; Owner, Box K Trucking
Black Hills State
Farm Bureau; Farmers Union; AOPA
Married (Melinda); 3 children
House since 1993

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