Three Schoesler bills move ahead before key Senate deadline

In the hours before a key voting deadline this session, the Senate unanimously passed three bills introduced by 9th District Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.

Today is the first “floor cutoff” of the 2024 legislative session. Senate bills not approved by the Senate by 5 p.m. today are considered dead for the year. Bills that are deemed necessary to implement the state supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets are exempt from this deadline.

SB 5344 – Helping school districts with construction-project costs

Senate Bill 5344 would create a public-school revolving fund that would be used to issue low-interest or interest-free loans to qualifying school districts for capital projects.

“We all know what a great success the state’s public works trust fund is,” said Schoesler, the Republican leader on the Senate capital budget, speaking before the vote on SB 5344. “We’re replicating that with this approach and hopefully improving access to very low-cost financing for at least a portion of our school construction. This will be good for small schools, medium-sized and bigger schools. It creates a place where we can place our money in the future and keep it recirculating back for school construction all across our state.”

SB 6162 – Excessive fees for locating abandoned property

Senate Bill 6162 would add a penalty for excessive fees for locating abandoned property held by a county. Under the proposal, someone who violates the prohibition on excessive fees for locating and recovering unclaimed property held by a county would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would face 90 days jail, a fine up to $1,000,  or both.

Schoesler dubbed it a “technical clean-up measure” that is a fix to an unclaimed-property law from 2023 in which the penalty for predatory practices on unclaimed property was inadvertently left out.

SB 6215 – Improving tax and revenue laws

Senate Bill 6215 would make administrative and technical changes to the state’s tax and licensing codes.

“This is my annual clean-up bill for the state’s tax and licensing codes,” said Schoesler. “We always seem to discover a few codes here and there that need to be updated and this is the latest clean-up measure for those codes.”

All three Schoesler bills move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.