State News_ state flagLegislation authored by State Representative Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) to better address flooding and drainage in the Kankakee and Yellow river basins could soon be signed into law by the governor.

“The flooding last year caused severe damage to local homes and farms, and took far too long to address,” Gutwein said. “To help prevent this level of destruction from occurring again, we must make some changes. Streamlining the commission and requiring some expertise are important steps toward ensuring future floods are better managed.”

Under Gutwein’s legislation, the current 24-member board would be pared down to nine members, with eight representing the eight counties in the basin and one representing the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. In order to serve on the board, each member must have a background in construction, project management, flood control or river drainage. Gutwein said this would help the board to act more quickly and efficiently.

According to Gutwein, improvements to the river basin will take years of work and an estimated $120 million. Under the proposal, each county in the basin would be responsible for a portion of this amount based on how much water drains from each county into the rivers.

“The river has been neglected for years, and it is going to require a team effort to complete a project of this size,” Gutwein said. “This in an important step forward in making necessary improvements.”

House Enrolled Act 1270 is now eligible for action by the governor. For more information, visit