IN OUR OPINION: Legislative actions come with good, bad results

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Farm Forum

A roundup of Legislative thoughts this week:

House Bill 1135, which would have limited the public’s ability to use public water if the land under the water is privately owned, was killed Wednesday in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

Good move. The bill was a passion point for people on both sides of the issue — those who believe public water is just that and those who err on the side of property owners’ rights — and shouldn’t be rushed. It is just too important an issue to get wrong.

We do want to see this issue come back in 2014, because it obviously needs to be addressed. And now that we’ve seen the arguments — and confusion — surrounding the bill, we know it needs to be put at the front of the public’s minds in January.

Thumbs up to Rep. Dennis Feickert, D-Aberdeen, for trying to get grain producers paid first when bond money is distributed after the financial failure of a grain buyer.

The spark for the measure was, of course, the failure of Anderson Seed Co. in Redfield. In that case, more than $2 million in claims were made against the $100,000 bond the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission collected from Anderson Seed’s insurer.

Even though Feickert’s attempt went down in the House, 52-18, any attempt to protect grain producers from ever being injured by a complete failure, such as the one by Anderson Seed and, frankly, the PUC, is a good thing.

Lawmakers rejected a bill that would have kept firearms out of the hands of some deemed mentally ill. Opponents in the House argued that keeping a registry of the mentally ill might infringe on their constitutional right to bear arms.

It’s all part of the debate since the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Earlier this month, a state Senate panel decided that the crime of animal cruelty should remain a misdemeanor rather than be upgraded to a felony in cases involving dogs, cats and horses.

Too bad. There is a direct correlation between animal abuse and mass murder (see the Columbine killers and other serial killers such as Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz and Jeffrey Dahmer).

Stiffer penalties for animal abuse would have sussed out exactly the kinds of mentally ill people we don’t want to have guns.