Missouri lawmakers are gathering more testimony on the wisdom of the decision three years ago to make the Water Patrol a division of the State Highway Patrol.

A special House committee planned to hear from the public and a state trooper during a meeting Tuesday at Osage Beach City Hall. It's the second of four scheduled hearings on the 2011 merger.

The review follows the May drowning in the Lake of the Ozarks of a handcuffed Iowa man who fell from a trooper's boat. The trooper had arrested 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson on suspicion of drunken boating.

Lawmakers now question whether the merger of the Water Patrol and the Highway Patrol overwhelmed troopers while saving the state money. Combining the departments was supposed to save about $3 million a year.

Kurt Parsons