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As House Speaker Rep. Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, watches, second from right, Senate President Sen. John Alario, R-Westwego, right, introduces statewide elected officials, from left, Treasurer John Schroder; Attorney General Jeff Landry; and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser at the start of the joint session as the 2018 Regular Legislative Session begins Monday March 12, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La.

A Louisiana House panel Monday advanced a proposal backed by State Treasurer John Schroder that would create a fund using unclaimed property that could eventually be used for infrastructure projects by localities.

The bills, House Bills 291 and 292, would create a trust fund for the state’s unclaimed property. Some of the money would be invested, and eventually the profits from the fund could be tapped into by cities to fund infrastructure projects, as an alternative to the state’s capital outlay process.

Schroder, a Republican who has focused on unclaimed property since being elected, said the fund would be aimed at helping rural municipalities that have fiscal problems.

“It’s a real issue in the state as municipalities are struggling to pay their bills. We’re seeing it more and more and more,” he said during a House Appropriations hearing Monday morning.

The committee passed the two pieces of legislation, carried by House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-Iberia, without objection.

Schroder then went to the House Ways & Means Committee to argue for companion legislation that would establish the Louisiana Capital Outlay Revolving Loan Bank.

Under House Bill 496, the newly created seven-member board of directors would named to govern the bank, choose the projects to be funded and issue the bonds necessary to raised the money. HB496, sponsored by Ways & Means Chair Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, was approved by the committee and now goes to the full House.

Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.