Chambers bill to cut costs for local governments signed into law

A bill sponsored by Rep. Kelly Chambers to update the monetary threshold for found property stored by local governments was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

House Bill 1764 will change the existing threshold from $25 to $100 or less, while requiring the Office of Financial Management to adjust the threshold for inflation every five years, beginning July 1, 2025.

The current statute governing this issue, written more than three decades ago, requires cities to store items with a value of $25 or more for 60 days—a responsibility that usually falls on the city's police department. Because the monetary threshold has never been adjusted for inflation, police departments have become inundated with items of very little value.

During testimony on the bill, Puyallup Deputy Police Chief Dave McDonald said his department is currently storing more than 26,000 items in its property room, including hundreds of old TVs and bicycles. Puyallup Deputy Mayor Tom Swanson says that's about 16,000 more items than the city should be storing, according to best practices. In total, Puyallup spends roughly $10,000 per year in off-site storage for lost-and-found items.

Chambers, R-Puyallup, says her bill will ensure those costs come down.

“House Bill 1764 will provide significant cost savings for cities across Washington state, while also freeing up valuable time for our men and women in law enforcement to carry out their many important duties,” said Chambers. “I'm grateful the bill was overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate, and was honored to see it signed into law by the governor yesterday afternoon.”

House Bill 1764 is Chambers' first bill to be signed into law.

The 2019 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Sunday, April 28.

Photo caption: From left to right: Puyallup Police Department Property and Evidence Technician Sherie Theuerkauf; 25th LD Sen. Hans Zeiger; 25th LD Rep. Chris Gildon; Puyallup Assistant City Manager Steve Kirkelie; Jim Hedrick; Gov. Jay Inslee; Puyallup Police Chief Scott Engle; 25th LD Rep. Kelly Chambers; Jeff Chambers; and Luke Esser.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov