Will Illinois bill set a precedent for the future of cremation remains
A reader of Funeral Director Daily recently sent me information on Illinois HB 1367 that is a bill under consideration in the state legislature of Illinois that the bill’s author states in this radio interview will (allow for a) “concept of how cremated remains are handled in the future”.
According to this article from Fast Democracy which tracks bills in the Illinois Legislature, HB 1367 will be an amendment to the current Crematory Regulation Act. The official summary or bill text in this article states, among other items, the following:
- “temporary container” is, among other things, a single container of sufficient size to hold cremated remains only until an urn is acquired
- Provides that cremated remains must (rather than may) be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt, or niche in a designated cemetery
- Removes language allowing for the disposal of cremated remains commingled with those of another person when scattering cremated remains at sea, by air, or in an area located in a dedicated cemetery
- Provides that an authorizing agent has the right to request and retain up to 8 ounces of cremated remains for memorialization before final disposition of the remains and requires funeral directors to notify an authorizing agent of that right.
The bill’s author, State Representative Anthony Deluca, made comments about the bill while on the above linked radio program from March 20, 2023. Some of these comments were:
- “it’s not all about costs. . . more about concept”
- “do we want to modernize, reform, the death care industry?”
- “Why are cremated remains allowed to be taken to the family and spread where ever they want? . . . .that’s what part of this conversation is about”.
According to this Illinois General Assembly bill tracker it appears that the bill passed out of the House on March 24, 2023, and had its first reading in the Senate on March 27, 2023. It also appears to be having its 3rd reading in the Senate today, May 19.
Funeral Director Daily take: At this time of the year things happen fast in legislatures and state assemblies. I’m writing this on Wednesday, May 17, and even before you read this things could have changed. I just want to make that point and perspective when writing about pending legislation.
There is a lot to be discussed in this bill, if it is as I seem to understand it. From my point of view the major change in this bill from the way things are done today is that it would require cremated remains, except for eight ounces that the family could keep, to be placed permanently in a “grave, crypt, or niche in a designated cemetery“.
I’ve mentioned many times that I am an advocate for permanent memorialization in a cemetery. So, one would think that I would favor this bill. However, I’m also a big advocate for “freedom of choice” in options for families of those who have died. And, many times the choice of those families is a different choice than I would make, but that doesn’t mean it is not a “better choice” for their circumstances.
Requiring cremated remains to be permanently memorialized in cemeteries would be really good for cemeteries who would stand to gain from the expanded number of property and monument customers. However, I would also surmise that a law that would require that circumstance would not be good for the many families who wish to memorialize in a different way.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- SPCC dedicates auditoreum to Harvey Leavitt III. The Anson Record (NC)
- Quarterly profit jumps for Hillenbrand. Inside Indiana Business. (IN)
- Courts uphold Indiana laws requiring proper burial/cremation of aborted babies. The Catholic World Report
- Wichita funeral home to close next month. The Wichita Eagle (KS)
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Observations from outside the funeral business it’s so obvious this bill (if passed) is very self serving for the cemetery business, not the consumer nor the consumers wishes.
Sounds like the Catholic Church who own half the cemeteries is behind this one- another reason not to live in Illinois
Note: We tested the cremated remains when I was at Mayo and again at UCLA- we found no DNA, no carbon and nothing hazardous in AH – they should be able to be scattered, and not only 8oz.