The Bismarck Tribune reports:
A bill introduced by an oil patch lawmaker would provide an exemption for the driver of a motor vehicle if they unintentionally injured or killed a pedestrian obstructing traffic on a public road or highway.
“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” said Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, who admitted the bill is in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in southern Morton County.
He said a response, in the form of House Bill 1203, was needed after groups of protesters blocked or gathered close to roadways and caused problems as motorists tried to drive by.
“They’re not there for the protesters,” said Kempenich of public roadways as a staging point. “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.” Kempenich said his mother-in-law, on a few occasions, was traveling south of Mandan and came upon groups of protesters gathered on and near roadways.
He said, on one occasion, about 100 cars were parked along a road in Morton County and his mother-in-law was passing through and slowed down. He said at one point an individual jumped out in front of the vehicle and was waving a sign.
Read the bill in full here.