STATEHOUSE (Jan. 24, 2019) – State Rep. Douglas Gutwein’s (R-Francesville) legislation to better address flooding and drainage in the Kankakee and Yellow river basins advanced to the Senate on Thursday.
“The flooding last February caused severe damage to homes and farms, and prevented farmers from getting in the fields and planting crops on time,” Gutwein said. “To better protect the homes and livelihoods of Hoosiers living in the area, we need to take steps to prevent and manage future floods.”
The Indiana General Assembly established the 24-member Kankakee River Basin Commission in 1977 to coordinate the development of the basin. Gutwein said his legislation would pare down the existing committee to nine members to help the commission act more quickly and efficiently when issues arise.
Under Gutwein’s proposal, eight members would be appointed by the county executive from the eight counties in the basin. The ninth member would be appointed by the governor. Gutwein said expertise in flooding and river drainage would be required to serve on the board to help prevent and better address flooding like many in the area experienced last year.
“Local homeowners and farmers living in and near the basin have expressed their concerns about the time it took to address the flooding last year,” Gutwein said. “Reducing the number of members on the commission would enable them to reach decisions and take action more quickly.”
According to Gutwein, two non-voting members from Kankakee and Iroquois counties in Illinois, where the Kankakee River ends and deposits sediment, would sit on the commission to provide additional insight on issues and potential solutions. This bill would also stagger the terms of the commission members and create a technical advisory committee for county surveyors who do not hold a seat on the commission.
State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) represents House District 16, which
includes all of Pulaski County and portions of Fulton, Jasper, Newton and Stark counties.
CAPTION: State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) presents his legislation to better address flooding and drainage in the Kankakee and Yellow river basins on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, at the Statehouse. Gutwein’s bill, which received unanimous support in the House, can now be considered by the Senate.