TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A bill signed into law by Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly will make it a misdemeanor to trespass near oil and gas pipelines.
The bill Kelly signed last week gained bipartisan support in the state Senate, but drew criticism from some House Democrats, including two Native American legislators who said the bill targets Native American protestors like those who opposed the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the subject of months of sometimes-violent protests in 2016 and 2017.
The new law goes into effect on July 1. The legislation makes it a misdemeanor to trespass near oil and gas, rubber manufacturing and wastewater treatment facilities. It would also make it a felony to trespass with the intent to damage them. It is already a felony in Kansas to damage oil and gas pipelines.