State Rep. Lonnie Sims requested an interim study to conduct a state-level review of all actions leading up to the recent flooding along the Arkansas River and disaster response and recovery efforts. 

House Speaker Charles McCall should grant the request and allow the Jenks Republican, who represents House District 68, to carry out a careful examination of those events. Sims correctly pointed out that this flood “spared no community” along the banks of the Arkansas River, and those affected deserve answers. 

“How did we forecast, plan and ultimately respond to protect the people, property, wildlife and environmental treasures of this state?” Sims said when he announced his request for the interim study. “We owe it to all who have suffered greatly to gain every lesson possible to better respond and, if at all possible, prevent the next one.” 

This study is needed because there may be a need for legislative action. Lawmakers, for example, could help counties find ways to fund infrastructure projects that would control flooding and manage stormwater runoff — this could be imperative considering a great deal of damage and property loss occurred in unincorporated areas.

Sims seeks to facilitate an after-action study with representatives from federal, state and local agencies along with public and private stakeholders impacted by the flood. The findings from this study will facilitate improved planning and preparations and help minimize future risks from similar events in the future. 

Our local lawmakers should support Sims’s request and this endeavor. 

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