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Heavy Rain Floods Kansas Statehouse Staff Offices

Stephen Koranda
Raney Gilliland points to damage caused by the water leak.

Heavy rains flooded several Statehouse offices and displaced some of the researchers that work for Kansas lawmakers. Friday morning, maintenance staff and members of the Kansas Legislative Research Department were cleaning up and sorting through water-damaged books and documents.

Raney Gilliland, director of the department, said a 10-inch pipe that carries rainwater from the roof of the Statehouse failed during a 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,” Gilliland 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 non-partisan department conducts research and compiles documents for state lawmakers, including the financial estimates connected to spending proposals.

Credit Stephen Koranda / KPR
Staff members sort through water-damaged books and documents after their office flooded.

This is an inopportune moment for the flooding to occur. Lawmakers are wrestling with tax and budget issues as they work to end the session, and Legislative Research staff provide critical background information and financial documents.

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

He said at least seven staff members were directly affected. Some of the department's 40 staff were moved 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 the flooding directly impacted people who specialize in areas such as transportation, social services and education funding. As the offices were being cleaned, one affected staff member was working in a committee hearing on a new funding proposal for Kansas schools.

Gilliland said he doesn’t yet know a cost to repair the damage.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.