Senator Dan Lederman (R-16/Dakota Dunes) dumped a load into the legislative hopper yesterday. Among his proposals is Senate Bill 133, which proposes to create a new crime, "aggravated disorderly conduct." Under SB 133, it's one thing to make a ruckus, but the moment you make that ruckus in the presence of "any officer or official" and persist in said ruckus after said officer or official tells you to knock it off, you're engaging in "aggravated" disorderly conduct.
Regular disorderly conduct is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Senator Lederman wants aggravated disorderly conduct to be a Class 1 misdemeanor. That means your penalty for ruckusification increases from a maximum of 30 days in jail and $500 to one year and $2000.
Now I have no sympathy for roughnecks throwing punches and smashing windows. I'm all for allowing the riot police to come in and shut down a real riot.
But given the climate of protest, given the effectiveness of the sit-ins around the White House that pushed President Obama's rejection of Keystone XL, and given the effectiveness of the Occupy movement in shifting the national dialogue, my civil liberties radar starts pinging. It sounds like Senator Lederman is looking for a way to drop a harder hammer on Occupy Rapid City and anyone else who may choose civil disobedience as a means of political action.