Heavy Rains Flood Legislative Research Offices At Kansas Statehouse

May 19, 2017
Originally published on May 19, 2017 7:03 am

Heavy rains early Friday flooded some Statehouse offices and displaced some of the researchers who work for Kansas lawmakers.

Maintenance staff and members of the Kansas Legislative Research Department worked Friday to clean up and sort through water-damaged books and documents in the ground-floor offices.

Raney Gilliland, director of the department, said a 10-inch pipe that carries rainwater from the Statehouse roof failed during the storm.

“With the deluge that we had last night, this collar broke and all of the water from the roof ended up in (our) office,” he said.

Water cascaded down onto books, a desk and file cabinets in one of the offices. The water then flooded adjacent offices and nearby parts of the building.

The nonpartisan department conducts research and compiles documents for legislators, including the financial estimates connected to spending proposals. 

This may be an especially inopportune time for the flooding to occur. Lawmakers are wrestling with tax and budget issues as they work to end the session, and members of the research staff provide information that they use when making those decisions.

“We’re always busy, but we’re very busy right now trying to help the Legislature make its final decisions,” Gilliland said.

The offices of at least seven staff members were affected. They moved Friday to temporary workstations.

“I think the Legislature will not notice any change in our work. We’re pretty adaptable,” Gilliland said. “We have lots of hands on deck down here.”

Gilliland said he doesn’t yet know a cost to repair the damage. The Statehouse underwent $300 million in renovations that were completed toward the end of 2013. 

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service.

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