Hillsboro Senator Wants to Take Old Oregon Gift Card Balances for Schools

By Reagan Knopp

Oregon State Senator Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro) has an idea. In Senate Bill 113, Riley wants the Oregon Department of Stand Lands to declare the remaining balances of gift cards over five years old as “unclaimed property”. The Department would take possession of the remaining balance and deposit the money in their unclaimed property fund.

The unclaimed property fund is held by the Department indefinitely and does allow owners to reclaim their property or money with proof of ownership. Until claimed, the Department invests the funds and gives the return to Oregon schools.

Saul Hubbard at The Register-Guard outlined other issues that came up during the public hearing:

Past U.S. Supreme Court rulings have said that, unless the gift card holder’s address is known, any unredeemed gift card value automatically reverts back to the state where the company that sold the card is based, not to the state where the card was sold.

Effectively, that means the bill would apply only to gift cards from Oregon-based companies, since people generally don’t have to provide an address when they purchase gift cards.

By the end of the public hearing, Riley admitted that the bill was “Clearly…not ready for prime time,”.