Senate again passes Schoesler bill improving irrigation-district elections

A proposal prime-sponsored by 9th District Sen. Mark Schoesler that would improve irrigation district elections has been unanimously approved by the Senate for the second time in nearly a year.

The Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 5342, which would allow mail-in ballot elections for irrigation districts and identify qualified district electors for irrigation districts. It also would create a gross misdemeanor violation when election-security requirements for irrigation-district elections are violated.

“Irrigation-district elections have become outdated, which has become a concern,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville.  “This bill provides an overdue update to irrigation-district elections and it increases election security for them. A work group created a couple of years ago reviewed election policies and procedures used by irrigation districts and concluded that many of the state laws that deal with these elections needed to be updated. This bill reflects the final recommendations of that work group.”

Last March, the Senate passed the bill 48-0, but the House did not take action on it, sending the proposal back to the Senate at the end of the 2021 session. On Jan. 13, the Senate Housing and Local Government Committee amended and then passed the bill.

Senate Bill 5342 now returns to the House of Representatives for further consideration.