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SD panel OKs public access to 40-plus acres of water on private land

PIERRE (AP) — A South Dakota Senate committee has passed a bill to regulate the public use of water on flooded private land.

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The State Affairs Committee voted 6-3 to approve a measure that would allow fishing on bodies of water 40 acres or larger, as long as there is public access to the water.

Supporters of the provision say water is in the public trust and the public should have access to that water. Other supporters say the courts are looking to the Legislature to set policy on how to deal with water that covers flooded private property.

Opponents to the bill, including many property owners, argue that the provision would violate property rights without providing compensation.