Bill Text: CT SB00412 | 2012 | General Assembly | Comm Sub
Bill Title: An Act Implementing The Recommendations Of The Program Review And Investigations Committee Concerning The Regulation Of Embalmers And Funeral Service Establishments And Certain Professional Board And Commission Hearings. [Track Bill]
Status: 2012-05-07 - Moved to Foot of the Calendar, Senate [SB00412 Detail]
February Session, 2012
AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE CONCERNING THE REGULATION OF EMBALMERS AND FUNERAL SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS AND CERTAIN PROFESSIONAL BOARD AND COMMISSION HEARINGS.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
Section 1. Section 42-200 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2013):
(a) For the purposes of this section and sections 42-201 to 42-206c, inclusive, "funeral service contract" means a contract [which] that requires the payment of money or the delivery of securities in exchange for the final disposition of a dead human body, including funeral, burial or other services, or the furnishing of personal property or funeral merchandise in connection with any such disposition, wherein the use or delivery of such services, property or merchandise is not required immediately and is not delivered immediately, "beneficiary" means the person for whom the goods or services purchased in a funeral service contract are to be provided, and "purchaser" means the person who signs the funeral service contract.
(b) Each funeral service establishment shall provide each person who inquires in person about purchasing a funeral service contract with a copy of the funeral service contract fact sheet prepared by the Department of Consumer Protection and shall provide each purchaser with a copy of such sheet prior to the purchaser's signing of a funeral service contract.
[(b)] (c) A funeral service contract shall be in writing and shall contain the following:
(1) The name, address, telephone number and Social Security number of the beneficiary and the purchaser;
(2) The name, address, telephone number and license number of the funeral director for the funeral service establishment providing the goods or services;
(3) A list of the selected goods or services, if any;
(4) The amount of funds paid or to be paid by the purchaser for such contract, the method of payment and a description of how such funds will be invested and how such investments are limited to those authorized pursuant to subsection (c) of section 42-202;
(5) A description of any price guarantees by the funeral service establishment or, if there are no such guarantees, a specific statement that the contract contains no guarantees on the price of the goods or services contained in the contract;
(6) The name and address of the escrow agent designated to hold the prepaid funeral services funds;
(7) A written representation, in clear and conspicuous type, that the purchaser should receive a notice from the escrow agent acknowledging receipt of the initial deposit not later than twenty-five days after receipt of such deposit by a licensed funeral director;
(8) A description of any fees to be paid from the escrow account to the escrow agent or any third party provider;
(9) A description of the ability of the purchaser or the beneficiary to cancel a revocable funeral service contract and the effect of cancelling such contract;
(10) For irrevocable contracts, a description of the ability of the beneficiary to transfer such contract to another funeral home; and
(11) The signature of the purchaser or authorized representative and the licensed funeral director of the funeral service establishment.
[(c)] (d) A funeral service establishment shall maintain a copy of all funeral service contracts entered into or assigned to such establishment and a list of each escrow account established pursuant to such contracts. Such list shall include the name and address of the escrow agent, the amount of funds deposited with such agent and the name and address of the purchaser of the funeral services contract. Such contracts shall be maintained by the funeral service establishment for a period of six years after the completion of the contracted services. Such establishment shall disclose such information, upon request, to the Commissioner of Public Health, the Commissioner of Consumer Protection or the Attorney General.
[(d)] (e) A funeral service establishment shall notify the purchaser of each prepaid funeral contract with such establishment not later than ten days after any transfer of more than a fifty per cent ownership share of such establishment to another person or of the closure of such establishment.
Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2013) (a) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection shall establish and maintain the Connecticut Funeral Service Contract Guaranty Fund in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(b) The Department of Public Health shall retain ten dollars from each licensing fee or renewal fee received by the department pursuant to section 20-213 or 20-217 of the general statutes, and shall transfer such fees quarterly to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection for deposit in the guaranty fund.
(c) Payments received under subsection (b) of this section shall be credited to the guaranty fund. Money in the fund may be invested or reinvested in the same manner as funds of the state employees retirement system, and the interest derived from such investments shall be credited to the guaranty fund.
(d) If a licensed funeral service establishment fails to deposit funds received from a funeral service contract in an escrow account as required by section 42-202 of the general statutes and refuses to honor such contract, the purchaser or beneficiary, as such terms are defined in section 42-200 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, upon discovery of such failure, may apply to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection for payment of such claim from the guaranty fund.
(e) Purchasers or beneficiaries with a claim shall apply for payment from the guaranty fund on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection. The application shall include the name and address of the funeral service establishment, the date the contract was entered into, the price of the contract, the amount and the basis of the claim and a copy of the contract or other documentation accepted by the commissioner and any other information required by the commissioner.
(f) If, after examination of the application and an initial investigation of the claim, the Commissioner of Consumer Protection determines there is some factual basis to the claim that funds were not deposited in an escrow account as required under section 42-202 of the general statutes, and the funeral service establishment has refused to honor the contract, the commissioner shall hold a hearing upon such application in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes. Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, the decision of the commissioner shall be final with respect to the application. The commissioner may hear applications of all purchasers or beneficiaries submitting claims against a single funeral service establishment in one proceeding.
(g) After notice and a hearing, if the commissioner finds in favor of the purchaser or beneficiary, the commissioner shall issue an order requiring payment from the guaranty fund of any sum the commissioner finds to be payable upon such application.
(h) If the commissioner pays any amount pursuant to an order under subsection (g) of this section, the commissioner shall notify the Department of Public Health of such payment and such funeral service establishment shall not be eligible to receive a new or renewed license from the Department of Public Health until it has repaid such amount in full, plus interest at a rate to be determined by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection.
(i) If the commissioner pays any amount as a result of a claim against a funeral service establishment pursuant to an order under subsection (g) of this section, the commissioner shall determine if the funeral service establishment is possessed of real or personal property or other assets, liable to be sold or applied in satisfaction of the claim on such fund. Upon discovery of any such assets, the commissioner may request the Attorney General to take any action necessary for the realization thereof for the reimbursement of the guaranty fund.
(j) The commissioner may, in order to preserve the integrity of the guaranty fund, order payments to be made out of said fund for amounts less than the actual loss incurred by any purchaser or beneficiary of a funeral service contract.
(k) When the commissioner has caused any sum to be paid from the guaranty fund to a purchaser or beneficiary of a funeral service contract, the commissioner shall be subrogated to all of the rights of the purchaser or beneficiary up to the amount paid, and the purchaser or beneficiary shall assign all rights, title and interest in the claim up to such amount to the commissioner, and any amount and interest recovered by the commissioner on the claim shall be deposited to the guaranty fund.
(l) The commissioner may adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes to carry out the purposes of this section.
Sec. 3. Section 19a-10 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):
The boards and commissions listed in subsection (b) of section 19a-14 may conduct hearings on any matter within their statutory jurisdiction. Such hearings shall be conducted in accordance with chapter 54 and the regulations established by the Commissioner of Public Health. At least one public board or commission member and one member, who is a member of the profession regulated by such board or commission, shall preside at any such hearing. In connection with any such hearing, any member of a board or commission, upon being designated by the board or commission, may administer oaths, issue subpoenas, compel testimony and order the production of books, records and documents. If any person refuses to appear, to testify or to produce any book, record or document when so ordered, a judge of the Superior Court may make such order as may be appropriate to aid in the enforcement of this section.
This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:
July 1, 2013
July 1, 2013
October 1, 2012
Joint Favorable Subst. C/R