Bill to Reduce Size of Kankakee River Basin Commission Advances to State Senate

State Rep. Gutwein presents Kankakee River Basin legislation at the Statehouse on Jan. 24

A bill to restructure the Kankakee River Basin Commission is advancing in the Indiana General Assembly. House Bill 1270 authored by State Representative Doug Gutwein of Francesville would cut the number of members from 24 down to nine.

He says the change would allow the commission to respond to issues more quickly. “The flooding last February caused severe damage to homes and farms and prevented the farmers from getting into the fields and planting crops on time,” Gutwein said in a press release. “To better protect the homes and livelihoods of Hoosiers living in the area, we need to take steps to prevent and manage future floods.”

Under the proposal, each of the eight counties in the Kankakee and Yellow river basins would appoint one representative to the new commission. Those include Starke, Marshall, and LaPorte. The ninth member would be appointed by the governor.

Additionally, Kankakee and Iroquois counties in Illinois would get two non-voting representatives. Meanwhile, any county surveyors who aren’t appointed to the new commission would have the chance to serve on a technical advisory committee.

The bill was approved by the Indiana House of Representatives last week. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.