Leising: Drainage Task Force to hold first meeting of 2023

State Senator Jean Leising. (R-Oldenburg)

(Statehouse) – The Drainage Task Force will hold its first meeting of 2023 at the Statehouse on Thursday, September 14, at noon, said State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg), co-chair of the task force.

Leising authored Senate Enrolled Act 85 during the 2022 legislative session to create the task force, which will:

  • Review state drainage laws;
  • Make determinations and recommendations concerning drainage and regulatory matters; and
  • Determine whether the balance between state and local authority over agricultural land drainage favors state authority more in Indiana than in neighboring states.

Last interim, the task force heard testimony from many constituents across the state and experts from organizations including the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Farm Bureau, Slonaker Farm Management, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

“Testimony revealed that residents struggled to build on or sell their own land because state law restricted what floodplain mapping data local governments could use when making permit determinations,” Leising said. “It is clear the state must ensure landowners and floodplain administrators have transparent and fair regulations that protect their rights and the land. This is why the task force will further review drainage matters and state laws and consider policy for the 2024 legislative session.”

The task force consists of 19 members including six members of the Indiana Senate, six members of the Indiana House of Representatives, and seven governor-appointed individuals.

Governor-appointed individuals will include an employee of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, an employee of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, a member of a county drainage board, a member of the governing body of a soil and water conservation district, a representative of the Indiana chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, a representative of a statewide farm organization and a county surveyor.

The task force will provide a period for public comment and discussion following presentations. Those who cannot attend can stream the meeting online at iga.in.gov.

Questions or concerns on these or other topics can be directed to Leising at [email protected] or 317-232-9493.

(State Senator Jean Leising press release)