GOOD: OK, it’s been a long, cold winter, but spring is just around the corner. And, besides, not all the news has been bad this winter. According to the National Weather Service, it was the snowiest February in 17 years. Downtown Rapid City received nearly 20 inches of snow thanks to a 10-inch storm on President’s Day weekend. The last time the city saw this much snow in February was in 2001 when the Weather Service reported 22 inches. The average for the month is 7.4 inches. The Northern Hills, meanwhile, has seen even more snow this winter. The last two years have been unusually dry in western South Dakota, which we were reminded of when the Legion Lake Fire exploded in December in the Southern Hills. Let’s hope the precipitation that occurred in February is a sign of things to come in 2018.
BAD: Rather than take action in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school mass shooting, the Trump Administration has decided to employ an age-old government tactic: create a commission to study the problem. In doing so, it gives the appearance that government is taking action while actually kicking the can down the road. After the most recent school mass murder, President Trump initially embraced the idea of raising the age of buying an assault rifle from 18 to 21, which, of course, the National Rifle Association opposes. Now, even that modest proposal seems in doubt. In making the announcement, Trump said there is apparently little political will among lawmakers for the age change. The fact that Congress won’t even discuss or vote on such a proposal — which the legislators in Florida did — speaks volumes about the lack of political courage in the nation’s capital.
UGLY: South Dakota legislative leaders have once again shown their disdain for processes that just might hold them accountable. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd of Sioux Falls said he decided not to schedule a meeting for a panel established last year that was supposed to examine lawmakers’ conduct, which had been under scrutiny after reports of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the Legislature that included one lawmaker admitting to having sex with two interns. Curd, an orthopedic surgeon, dismissed the review panel’s mission as unnecessary. "Just because we have a committee doesn't mean we have to have a hearing, right? It doesn't. There's no requirement in statute that we meet," he told the Associated Press. If that is the case, why did lawmakers approve of establishing the review panel in the first place?