Critical infrastructure bill introduced in state Senate

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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee will soon take up Senate Bill 151, a bill regarding critical infrastructure in the state.

SB 151 was introduced last week by District 11 Republican Senator Jim Stalzer, a retired IT professional.

SB 151 would amend existing state law to more clearly spell out exactly what ‘critical infrastructure’ means. The bill identifies a host of services to include electric utilities, water, gas, and natural gas facilities. It includes both public and commercial communications facilities as well as transportation services and functions.

The bill would expand the definition to include, “Any construction area, pipe yard, or laydown yard for any of the above, whether permanent or temporary in nature.”

Also, new, interruption of the internet would be punishable as a Class 6 felony. The internet would be added to a list of communications services already protected under existing statutes. Currently, protected services include television, radio, telephone, and telegraph, among others.

Under the proposed law, any person who knowingly damages, tampers with, or interferes in the operation of critical infrastructure sites causing physical injury or death would be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

SB 151 was assigned to the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee and is awaiting scheduled for its first hearing.