House Bill Addressing Street Gangs Draws Opposition from Motorcycle Groups

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A state bill hitting the house floor is raising concerns among those in the motorcycle community.

House Bill 1111 is a bill that revises certain definitions regarding criminal street gang activity in South Dakota, but some motorcycle groups say, they feel it targets them.

“Communities across South Dakota are experiencing an increasing amount of gang activity or gang related crime,” said Representative Thomas Holmes.

Rep. Holmes wants to put an end to what he calls a growing problem, with House Bill 1111.

“It modifies gang classification criteria, it creates list of crimes that define street gang activity when committed by a documented gang member.

He says the bill clarifies South Dakota’s definition of “gang activity” and brings the state statute in accordance with federal law.

However some say the bill is too broad.

“It jumped out at me is it’s basically a profiling bill,” said Bryon Farmer, Chairman of the South Dakota Confederation of Clubs. “There are some good issues to trying to keep street gangs out of our communities and out of our state, that part I’m okay with. It’s just the broad range of the way the bill is written it, could be used against way too many good groups that are out there.”

Motorcycle groups like A.B.A.T.E. Are testifying in opposition of the bill they say targets them as gang members.

“It’s not just motorcyclists; it’s so broad that just about anybody that’s wearing similar shirts could be defined as a street gang,” said Dave Brende, President of “Those Guys” A.B.A.T.E. Chapter.

“We don’t want to be lumped as a street gang member, we do a lot of good for this community and so do all the other clubs and organizations.”

Representative Holmes says the bill is intended to assist officers and prosecutors in cracking down on gang activity, he says it’s not to call out any organization or group.

“It wasn’t directed towards them, its directed toward these gangs that we’re seeing increasing in our cities, and a lot of them just commit the crime because that’s what they think they need to do,” said Rep. Holmes.

Opposition groups say it needs re-writing before it’s passed through.

“If you’re a part of any organization, we urge you strongly to contact your representation in Pierre and let them know you do not like this bill as it is written.”

House bill 1111 passed the house judiciary committee on Monday.

It was scheduled to go to the house floor Wednesday afternoon.

More information on House Bill 1111 can be found here: A state bill hitting the house floor is raising concerns among those in the motorcycle community.

House Bill 1111 is a bill that revises certain definitions regarding criminal street gang activity in South Dakota, but some motorcycle groups say, they feel it targets them.

“Communities across South Dakota are experiencing an increasing amount of gang activity or gang related crime,” said Representative Thomas Holmes.

Rep. Holmes wants to put an end to what he calls a growing problem, with House Bill 1111.

“It modifies gang classification criteria, it creates list of crimes that define street gang activity when committed by a documented gang member.

He says the bill clarifies South Dakota’s definition of “gang activity” and brings the state statute in accordance with federal law.

However some say the bill is too broad.

“It jumped out at me is it’s basically a profiling bill,” said Bryon Farmer, Chairman of the South Dakota Confederation of Clubs.”

There are some good issues to trying to keep street gangs out of our communities and out of our state, that part I’m okay with. It’s just the broad range of the way the bill is written it, could be used against way too many good groups that are out there.”

Motorcycle groups like A.B.A.T.E. Are testifying in opposition of the bill they say targets them as gang members.

“It’s not just motorcyclists; it’s so broad that just about anybody that’s wearing similar shirts could be defined as a street gang,” said Dave Brende, President of “Those Guys” Abate Chapter.

“We don’t want to be lumped as a street gang member, we do a lot of good for this community and so do all the other clubs and organizations.”

Representative Holmes says the bill is intended to assist officers and prosecutors in cracking down on gang activity, he says it’s not to call out any motorcycle organization or group.

“It wasn’t directed towards them, its directed toward these gangs that we’re seeing increasing in our cities, and a lot of them just commit the crime because that’s what they think they need to do,” said Rep. Holmes.

Opposition groups say it needs re-writing before it’s passed through.

“If you’re a part of any organization, we urge you strongly to contact your representation in Pierre and let them know you do not like this bill as it is written.”

House bill 1111 passed the house judiciary committee on Monday.

It was scheduled to go to the house floor Wednesday afternoon.

More information on House Bill 1111 can be found here: http://sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?Bill=1111&Session=2018

A draft of the bill can be found here: http://sdlegislature.gov/docs/legsession/2018/Bills/HB1111HJU.pdf