Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Request: HB 491

This is a bill that modifies the law regarding cemeteries, graveyards, etc. It creates a new category of cemetery with lower fee and set-aside requirements.

The first part of the bill creates a "Conservation Cemetery". Basically, it's cemetery designed as "open space" with "green" methods and a focus on natural decay. The designation requires that the cemetery only use biodegradable material and headstones that are flat in the ground.

It also greatly reduces the amount of money that must be paid to the "Perpetual Care Fund" per sale of plots, which makes a degree of sense since these cemeteries are not intended to preserve corpses, but to decay them.

That's it, really. It's a very small bill.

The goal of the legislation appears to be to encourage cemetery operators to shift focus from long-term memorialization to natural decomposition and open space. While I am generally against open-space laws, as they tend to favor wealthy, existing landowners who leave their property idle over those who would use it for productive ends or develop it, and potential buyers, I can't see any specific objections to this bill. Certainly it tries to manipulate a market towards a particular outcome, which is also bad, but again, that's nothing unique to this market, and the pricing may very well be justified by reduced long-term costs.

There is at least one group on Facebook opposed to the legislation, but that appears to be more related to local objections to specific graveyards - they don't want to make it easier to set them up in their area. It doesn't appear to be based on anything specific to this bill.

I'm not well-versed enough on this issue to know the full impact that the bill would have, but on it's language, I would probably neither vote for nor against it. It strikes me as simply a symptom of Democrats obsession with Environmentalism, but one of it's less harmful manifestations.


Do you have a bill you like to know more about? Let me know!

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