(Nov. 5) – The legislative Flood Disaster Study Committee began its inaugural hearing this morning, taking testimony from state and federal government agencies and the general public as it began to gather information on the scope of  September’s Front Range flooding with a view toward crafting legislation that will improve the state’s response to the 2013 disaster and to future floods.

Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley) and Sen. Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) were elected co-chairmen of the panel. Both legislators represent districts in Weld County, which was one of the areas hit hardest by the floods.

“We must recognize that the state of Colorado cannot prevent an act of nature of this magnitude from happening again,” Rep. Young told the panel. “But just as we have learned how to cope with the next wildfire, so begins our work on how to be more prepared for future floods, and equip Coloradans to be ready for whatever nature has in store for us.”

The committee is receiving reports from members of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s disaster response team, and is scheduled to hear testimony from the general public this afternoon in Senate Committee Room 356. “The input of those most affected may well be the most valuable undertaking of this committee,” Rep. Young said.

Early questioning from committee members focused on housing issues, dams and other flood control infrastructure, and emergency communications and warning systems.

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