Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Public Safety Committee

HB 2374

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning donation of unclaimed property by law enforcement agencies.

Sponsors: Representatives Hayes, Goodman, Eslick and Haler.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Authorizes law enforcement agencies to donate unclaimed property to museums and historical societies.

Hearing Date: 1/15/18

Staff: Kelly Leonard (786-7147).


State law prescribes different requirements and methods for disposing of unclaimed property possessed by law enforcement agencies. After a period of notice to a known owner, unclaimed property may be sold at public auction, or it may retained or destroyed by an agency in certain circumstances. City or town police authorities, sheriffs, and the Washington State Patrol may also donate unclaimed personal property to nonprofit charitable organizations. Organizations receiving the donated property must use the property, or its proceeds, to benefit needy persons. Additionally, organizations receiving the property must qualify for tax exempt status under the Federal Internal Revenue Code.

For the purpose of laws relating to unclaimed property at museums or historical societies, "museum or historical society" means an institution operated by a nonprofit corporation, nonprofit association, or public agency, primarily educational, scientific, historic, or aesthetic in purpose, which owns, borrows, studies, or cares for tangible objects, including archives, and exhibits them as appropriate.

Summary of Bill:

City or town police authorities, county sheriffs, and the state patrol may also donate unclaimed personal property to museums or historical societies.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.