Bill Text: MS HB1196 | 2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: State Board of Funeral Service; extend repealer on.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Failed) 2021-02-02 - Died In Committee [HB1196 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2021-HB1196-Introduced.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2021 Regular Session

To: Public Health and Human Services

By: Representative Oliver

House Bill 1196

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 73-11-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXTEND THE DATE OF THE REPEALER ON THE SECTIONS OF LAW THAT CREATE THE STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL SERVICE AND PRESCRIBE ITS DUTIES AND POWERS; TO REENACT SECTIONS 73-11-41 THROUGH 73-11-73, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH CREATE THE STATE BOARD OF FUNERAL SERVICE AND PRESCRIBE ITS DUTIES AND POWERS; TO AMEND REENACTED SECTION 73-11-69, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO MAKE A NONSUBSTANTIVE MINOR SPELLING CORRECTION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  Section 73-11-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     73-11-33.  Sections 73-11-41 through 73-11-73, which create the State Board of Funeral Service and prescribe its duties and powers, shall stand repealed on July 1, * * *2021 2024.

     SECTION 2.  Section 73-11-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-41.  The following terms shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context shall otherwise require:

          (a)  "Alternative container" is an unfinished wood box or other nonmetal receptacle or enclosure, without ornamentation or a fixed interior lining, which is designed for the encasement of human remains and which is made of fiberboard, pressed wood, composition materials (with or without an outside covering) or like materials.

          (b)  "Board" means the State Board of Funeral Service of the State of Mississippi as created by Section 73-11-43, or any successor thereof.

          (c)  "Branch establishment" means an auxiliary facility or division of a main funeral establishment licensed under this chapter that is within seventy-five (75) miles of the main facility.

          (d)  "Casket" is defined as a rigid container that is designed for the encasement of human remains and that is usually constructed of wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic or like material and ornamented and lined with fabric which may or may not be combustible.

          (e)  "Cremation" means a two-part procedure whereby a dead human body or body parts shall be reduced by direct flame to residue which includes bone fragments and the pulverization of said bone fragments to coarse powdery consistency.

          (f)  "Crematory" is defined as any person, partnership or corporation that performs cremation.  A crematory must comply with any applicable public health laws and rules and must contain the equipment and meet all of the standards established by the rules and regulations adopted by the board.

          (g)  "Certified crematory operator" means an individual who has completed the certification program as approved by the board.

          (h)  "Crematory operator" means the legal entity that operates a crematory and performs cremations.

          (i)  "Direct cremation" means a disposition of human remains by cremation without formal viewing, visitation or ceremony with the body present.

          (j)  "Embalming" means the disinfection of the dead human body by replacing certain body fluids with preserving and disinfecting chemicals.

          (k)  "First call" means the beginning of the relationship between the consumer and the licensed funeral director, funeral service practitioner and/or funeral establishment to take charge of a dead human body and/or have the body prepared for burial or disposition by embalming, cremation or another method.

          (l)  "Funeral establishment" means a fixed place or premise duly licensed by the board that is devoted to or used in the immediate post-death activities of custody, shelter, care, preparation and/or embalming for final disposition of the body; or used for religious services or other rites or ceremonies associated with the final disposition of the human dead; or maintained or held out to the public by advertising or otherwise as such, for the convenience and comfort of the bereaved and the community for viewing or other services in connection with the human dead, and as the office or place for carrying on the profession of funeral service and/or funeral directing.

          (m)  "Licensee" means a person or entity who holds a license issued by the board.

          (n)  "License for funeral establishment" means a license issued to a place or premise devoted to or used in the immediate post-death activities of transportation, custody, shelter, care, preparation and/or embalming for final disposition of the body; or used for religious services or other rites or ceremonies associated with the final disposition of human dead; or maintained for the convenience and comfort of the bereaved and the community for viewing or other services in connection with the human dead, and as the office or place for carrying on the profession of funeral service and/or funeral directing.

          (o)  "License for the practice of funeral directing" means the license given to a person engaging in the "practice of funeral service" who is not engaged in the practice of embalming.

          (p)  "License for the practice of funeral service" means the license given to a person engaging in the "practice of funeral service," including the practice of embalming.

          (q)  "Practice of funeral service" means:

              (i)  Providing shelter, care and custody of the human dead;

              (ii)  Conducting immediate post-death activities;

              (iii)  Preparing of the human dead by embalming or other methods for burial or other disposition;

              (iv)  Being responsible for the transportation of the human dead, bereaved relatives and friends;

              (v)  Making arrangements, financial or otherwise, for the providing of such services;

              (vi)  The sale of funeral merchandise; or

              (vii)  The practice or performance of any function of funeral directing and/or embalming as presently known, including those stipulated herein.

     This definition shall not include persons or corporations engaging only in the preneed sale of funeral merchandise or service.

          (r)  "Mortuary service establishment" means a place of business where dead human bodies are embalmed or otherwise prepared or held for burial, including the transportation of the bodies.

          (s)  "Resident trainee" means a person who is preparing to become licensed for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing and who is serving under the supervision and instruction of a person duly licensed for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing in this state.

          (t)  "Retort" means an enclosed space within which the cremation process takes place.

          (u)  "Trade embalmer" means an embalmer who does embalming for a licensed funeral establishment.

     SECTION 3.  Section 73-11-43, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-43.  There is created the State Board of Funeral Service which shall consist of seven (7) members, one (1) funeral service licensee and one (1) funeral director licensee to be appointed from each Mississippi Supreme Court district.  Three (3) members shall have been licensed for the practice of funeral service under this chapter for five (5) consecutive years and/or have had at least five (5) consecutive years' experience as a funeral director and embalmer in this state immediately preceding his appointment.  Three (3) members shall have been licensed for the practice of funeral directing under this chapter for five (5) consecutive years and/or have had at least five (5) consecutive years' experience as a funeral director immediately preceding his appointment.  One (1) member shall be a public member and be appointed from the public at large.  The members of the board shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  All appointments shall be for terms of four (4) years from the expiration date of the previous term.  Upon the expiration of his term of office, a board member may continue to serve until his successor has been appointed and confirmed.  No board member shall serve more than two (2) consecutive full terms.  Vacancies in office shall be filled by appointment by the Governor in the same manner as the appointment to the position which becomes vacant, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate at the next regular session of the Legislature.  Appointments for vacancies in office, except those from the public at large, may be made from a joint list of four (4) qualified persons, two (2) each submitted by the Mississippi Funeral Directors Association and the Mississippi Funeral Directors and Morticians Association.  Nothing in this chapter or any other statute shall preclude the members of the State Embalming Board from serving as members of the State Board of Funeral Service.

     SECTION 4.  Section 73-11-45, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-45.  The members of the board, before entering upon their duties, shall take and subscribe to the oath of office prescribed for other state officers, which oath shall be administered by properly qualified authority and shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State.

     SECTION 5.  Section 73-11-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-47.  The board shall hold not less than two (2) meetings annually for the purpose of conducting the business of the board and for examining applications for licenses.  Four (4) or more members shall comprise a quorum.  Any member who shall not attend two (2) consecutive meetings of the board shall be subject to removal by the Governor.  The chairman of the board shall notify the Governor in writing when any such member has failed to attend two (2) consecutive regular meetings.

     SECTION 6.  Section 73-11-49, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-49.  (1)  The board is authorized to select from its own membership a chairman, vice chairman and secretary-treasurer.  Election of officers shall be held at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the fiscal year.

     (2)  All members of the board shall be reimbursed for their necessary traveling expenses and mileage incident to their attendance upon the business of the board, as provided in Section 25-3-41, and shall receive a per diem as provided in Section 25-3-69 for every day actually spent upon the business of the board, not to exceed twenty (20) days per year unless authorized by a majority vote of the board.

     (3)  All monies received by the board shall be paid into a special fund in the State Treasury to the credit of the board and shall be used by the board for paying the traveling and necessary expenses and per diem of the members of the board while on board business, and for paying other expenses necessary for the operation of the board in carrying out and involving the provisions of this chapter.

     (4)  The board shall employ an administrator of the board, who shall have complete supervision and be held responsible for the direction of the office of the board, shall have supervision over field inspections and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, shall have such other duties as may be assigned by the board, shall be responsible and answerable to the board.  The board may employ such other clerical assistants and employees as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, and the terms and conditions of such employment shall be determined by the board in accordance with applicable state law and rules and regulations of the State Personnel Board.

     (5)  Except as otherwise authorized in Section 7-5-39, the board, when it shall deem necessary, shall be represented by an assistant attorney general duly appointed by the Attorney General of this state, and may also request and receive the assistance of other state agencies and county and district attorneys, all of whom are authorized to provide the assistance requested.

     (6)  The board shall have subpoena power in enforcing the provisions of this chapter.

     (7)  The board shall adopt and promulgate rules and regulations consistent with law concerning, but not limited to, trainees, apprentices and preceptors, practitioners of funeral service, funeral directors, embalmers and funeral establishments and branches.  These rules and regulations shall not become effective unless promulgated and adopted in accordance with the provisions of the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law (Section 25-43-1.101 et seq.).

     (8)  The board may designate the administrator to perform inspections under this chapter, may employ an individual to perform such inspections or may contract with any other individual or entity to perform such inspections.  Any individual or entity that performs such inspections shall have the right of entry into any place in which the business or practice of funeral service and/or funeral directing is carried on or advertised as being carried on, for the purpose of inspection, for the investigation of complaints coming before the board and for such other matters as the board may direct.

     (9)  The board shall not adopt any rule or regulation requiring dead bodies to be embalmed except as required by rule or otherwise by the State Department of Health.

     SECTION 7.  Section 73-11-51, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-51.  (1)  No person shall engage in the business or practice of funeral service, including embalming, and/or funeral directing or hold himself out as transacting or practicing or being entitled to transact or practice funeral service, including embalming, and/or funeral directing in this state unless duly licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

     (2)  The board is authorized and empowered to examine applicants for licenses for the practice of funeral service and funeral directing and shall issue the proper license to those persons who successfully pass the applicable examination and otherwise comply with the provisions of this chapter.

     (3)  To be licensed for the practice of funeral directing under this chapter, a person must furnish satisfactory evidence to the board that he or she:

          (a)  Is at least eighteen (18) years of age;

          (b)  Has a high school diploma or the equivalent thereof;

          (c)  Has served as a resident trainee for not less than twenty-four (24) months under the supervision of a person licensed for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing in this state;

          (d)  Has successfully passed a written and/or oral examination as prepared or approved by the board; and

          (e)  Is of good moral character.

     (4)  To be licensed for the practice of funeral service under this chapter, a person must furnish satisfactory evidence to the board that he or she:

          (a)  Is at least eighteen (18) years of age;

          (b)  Has a high school diploma or the equivalent thereof;

          (c)  Has successfully completed twelve (12) months or more of academic and professional instruction from an institution accredited by the United States Department of Education for funeral service education and have a certificate of completion from an institution accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education or any other successor recognized by the United States Department of Education for funeral service education;

          (d)  Has served as a resident trainee for not less than twelve (12) months, either before or after graduation from an accredited institution mentioned above, under the supervision of a person licensed for the practice of funeral service in this state and in an establishment licensed in this state;

          (e)  Has successfully passed the National Conference of Funeral Examiners examination and/or such other examination as approved by the board; and

          (f)  Is of good moral character.

     (5)  All applications for examination and license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing shall be upon forms furnished by the board and shall be accompanied by an examination fee, a licensing fee and a nonrefundable application fee in amounts fixed by the board in accordance with Section 73-11-56.  The fee for an initial license, however, may be prorated in proportion to the period of time from the date of issuance to the date of biennial license renewal prescribed in subsection (8) of this section.  All applications for examination shall be filed with the board office at least sixty (60) days before the date of examination.  A candidate shall be deemed to have abandoned the application for examination if he does not appear on the scheduled date of examination unless such failure to appear has been approved by the board.

     (6)  The practice of funeral service or funeral directing must be engaged in at a licensed funeral establishment, at least one (1) of which is listed as the licensee's place of business; and no person, partnership, corporation, association or other organization shall open or maintain a funeral establishment at which to engage in or conduct or hold himself or itself out as engaging in the practice of funeral service or funeral directing until such establishment has complied with the licensing requirements of this chapter.  A license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing shall be used only at licensed funeral establishments; however, this provision shall not prevent a person licensed for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing from conducting a funeral service at a church, a residence, public hall, lodge room or cemetery chapel, if such person maintains a fixed licensed funeral establishment of his own or is in the employ of or an agent of a licensed funeral establishment.

     (7)  Any person holding a valid, unrevoked and unexpired nonreciprocal license in another state or territory having requirements greater than or equal to those of this state as determined by the board may apply for a license to practice in this state by filing with the board a certified statement from the secretary of the licensing board of the state or territory in which the applicant holds his license certifying to his qualifications and good standing with that board.  He/she must also successfully pass a written and/or oral examination on the Mississippi Funeral Service licensing law and rules and regulations as prepared or approved by the board, and must pay a nonrefundable application fee set by the board.  If the board finds that the applicant has fulfilled aforesaid requirements and has fulfilled substantially similar requirements of those required for a Mississippi licensee, the board shall grant such license upon receipt of a fee in an amount equal to the renewal fee set by the board for a license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing, as the case may be, in this state.  The board may issue a temporary funeral service or funeral directing work permit before a license is granted, before the next regular meeting of the board, if the applicant for a reciprocal license has complied with all requirements, rules and regulations of the board.  The temporary permit will expire at the next regular meeting of the board.  The issuance of a license or temporary permit by reciprocity to a military-trained applicant or military spouse shall be subject to the provisions of Section 73-50-1.

     (8)  (a)  Except as provided in Section 33-1-39, any person holding a license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing may have the same renewed for a period of two (2) years by making and filing with the board an application on or before the due date.  Payment of the renewal fee shall be in an amount set by the board in accordance with Section 73-11-56.  The board shall mail the notice of renewal and the due date for the payment of the renewal fee to the last-known address of each licensee at least thirty (30) days before that date.  It is the responsibility of the licensee to notify the board in writing of any change of address.  An application will be considered late if the application and proper fees are not in the board's office or postmarked by the due date.  Failure of a license holder to receive the notice of renewal shall not exempt or excuse a license holder from the requirement of renewing the license on or before the license expiration date.

          (b)  If the renewal fee is not paid on or postmarked by the due date, the license of such person shall by operation of law automatically expire and become void without further action of the board.  The board may reinstate such license if application for licensure is made within a period of five (5) years, upon payment of the renewal fee for the current year, all renewal fees in arrears, and a reinstatement fee.  After a period of five (5) years, the licensee must make application, pay the current renewal fee, all fees in arrears, and pass a written and/or oral examination as prepared or approved by the board.

     (9)  No license shall be assignable or valid for any person other than the original licensee.

     (10)  The board may, in its discretion, if there is a major disaster or emergency where human death is likely to occur, temporarily authorize the practice of funeral directing and funeral service by persons licensed to practice in another state but not licensed to practice in this state.  Only persons licensed in this state, however, may sign death certificates.

     (11)  Any funeral service technology or mortuary science program accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education in the State of Mississippi, as well as students enrolled in such a program, shall be exempt from licensing under this chapter when embalming or otherwise preparing a deceased human body for disposition as part of a student practicum experience, when the student is directly supervised by an instructor or preceptor who holds a current funeral service license.  This exemption shall apply to practicum experiences performed at an accredited institution of funeral service technology or mortuary science program or at a duly licensed funeral establishment or commercial mortuary service.  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow any funeral service technology or mortuary science program, or those students enrolled in such a program, to engage in practicum experiences for remuneration.

     (12)  Each application or filing made under this section shall include the social security number(s) of the applicant in accordance with Section 93-11-64.

     SECTION 8.  Section 73-11-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-53.  (1)  The State Board of Funeral Service is authorized to establish a trainee and apprenticeship program whereby persons desiring to apprentice as a funeral service or funeral director trainee may be issued a resident traineeship certificate to practice funeral directing or funeral service under the direct on-premises supervision of a sponsoring Mississippi licensed funeral director or funeral service practitioner.

     (2)  A person desiring to become a resident trainee for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing shall make application to the board.  Such application shall be verified by the licensee under whom the applicant is serving, and shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee in an amount set by the board in accordance with Section 73-11-56.  When the board is satisfied as to the qualifications of an applicant, it shall issue a certificate of resident traineeship.

     (3)  The board shall have the power to suspend or revoke a certificate of a resident traineeship for violation of any provision of this chapter.

     (4)  A resident trainee must serve the apprenticeship in a funeral establishment that is licensed by the State of Mississippi and the preceptor must be a Mississippi licensed funeral service practitioner or funeral director who is employed by a Mississippi licensed funeral establishment and actively practicing within the State of Mississippi.  The funeral service trainee and apprenticeship program shall be completed within no less than twelve (12) months or more than eighteen (18) months under the direct supervision of a funeral director or funeral service licensee of the board.  The funeral director trainee and apprenticeship program shall be completed within no less than twenty-four (24) months or more than thirty (30) months under the direct supervision of a funeral director or funeral service licensee of the board.  The board may not adopt any rule that shall require a trainee for funeral directing or funeral service to be employed more than sixty-four (64) hours per month.

     (5)  A resident trainee may serve under the supervision of more than one (1) preceptor under conditions established by board rules and regulations.  The board may also adopt rules that will allow training at more than one (1) funeral establishment under special circumstances.

     (6)  A resident traineeship certificate shall be valid for one (1) year.  The board may renew a resident traineeship certificate if the trainee applies for renewal on a form provided by the board, shows that the training activity continues to satisfy applicable requirements and pays a renewal fee as set by the board.  The fee and application will be considered late if the fee and application are not in the office or show a postmark of December 31.  Applications received late may be reinstated by the payment of a renewal fee, a reinstatement fee and other applicable fees.  Failure to receive a renewal notice does not exempt a resident trainee from the required renewal of his/her traineeship.

     (7)  A resident trainee shall not advertise or hold himself out as a funeral director, funeral service practitioner, embalmer or use any other title or abbreviation indicating that the trainee is a funeral director, funeral service practitioner or embalmer.  A resident trainee does not have the rights and duties of a funeral director or funeral service licensee and is only authorized to act under the direct supervision of the approved preceptor.

     SECTION 9.  Section 73-11-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-55.  (1)  No person or party shall conduct, maintain, manage or operate a funeral establishment or branch thereof unless a license for each such establishment has been issued by the board and is conspicuously displayed in such funeral establishment.  In case of funeral services held in any private residence, church, cemetery, cemetery chapel, cemetery facility, or lodge hall, no license shall be required.

     (2)  There shall be four (4) funeral establishment license classifications:

          (a)  Full-service funeral establishment;

          (b)  Branch establishment;

          (c)  Mortuary service establishment; and

          (d)  Crematory establishment.

     (3)  To be licensed as a funeral establishment, a place or premise must be at a fixed and specified address or location and must be used for immediate post-death activities, whether used for the custody, shelter, care, preparation and/or embalming of the human dead.  Every funeral establishment shall be under the charge and personal supervision of a Mississippi funeral director licensee or a Mississippi funeral service licensee.  The licensee in charge and the licensee with personal supervisory responsibilities need not be the same licensee.  Each licensed funeral establishment shall be inspected at least once during each licensing period.  Such inspections may be unannounced.  After inspection of a funeral establishment, if the board cites the funeral establishment for failure to comply with any provision of this chapter or a rule or regulation of the board, the funeral establishment shall resolve the violation to the satisfaction of the board and be in full compliance with this chapter and board rules and regulations not later than thirty (30) days after the board files the inspection report.

     (4)  (a)  A funeral establishment where embalming is conducted must contain an embalming room with a sanitary floor, walls and ceiling, adequate sanitary drainage and disposal facilities, including running water and exhaust fans.  A full-service funeral establishment must also have an adequate casket and/or vault selection room, holding facilities and proper room or rooms in which rites and ceremonies may be held.  A funeral establishment shall be subject to an inspection at least once during a two-year license period.  Each new establishment must be inspected before the opening.  All portions of each facility licensed under this section shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.

          (b)  (i)  A branch establishment must contain an office and/or an arrangement room, and a room for viewing and/or a chapel or proper place for ceremonies.  A branch establishment need not meet all requirements specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection and need not be under the personal supervision of a Mississippi funeral director licensee or a Mississippi funeral service licensee.

              (ii)  If the branch meets all requirements of a funeral establishment as specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection, such establishment must be under the charge and personal supervision of a Mississippi funeral director licensee or a Mississippi funeral service licensee.

          (c)  A commercial mortuary service is a funeral establishment that embalms and transports for licensed funeral establishments and does not sell any services or merchandise directly or at retail to the public.  A mortuary service establishment shall not arrange or conduct a funeral or direct burial.  A mortuary service establishment may arrange for and transport dead human bodies for direct cremation purposes only under the following circumstances:

              (i)  On behalf of a full-service funeral establishment;

              (ii)  On behalf of a branch funeral establishment; or

              (iii)  At the direction of a public administrator, medical examiner, coroner or any other public official charged with arranging the final disposition of dead human bodies.

          (d)  A crematory establishment shall have the authority to cremate dead human bodies and to transport dead human bodies to and from the establishment and shall meet the requirements of Section 73-11-69.  An establishment licensed only as a crematory establishment is prohibited from the care and preparation of dead human bodies other than by cremating and shall also be prohibited from embalming, making funeral arrangements or cremation arrangements with any person or party that is not licensed by the board, conducting visitations and funeral ceremonies, and furnishing any funeral service in connection with the disposition of dead human bodies or selling funeral merchandise.

     (5)  Applications for funeral establishment licenses, branch establishment licenses or commercial mortuary service licenses shall be made on blanks furnished by the board and shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount fixed by the board under Section 73-11-56.  All establishment licenses shall be issued for a period of two (2) years, except initial licenses may be prorated from the date of issuance to the next renewal date.

     Renewal funeral establishment and branch establishment license applications and license fees shall be due and payable to the board on or before the expiration date of the license.  The board shall mail the notice of renewal and the due date for payment of the renewal fee at least thirty (30) days before that date.  Failure of the license holder to receive the notice of renewal shall not exempt or excuse the holder from the requirement of renewing the license on or before the license expiration date.

     (6)  If the renewal fee is not paid on or postmarked by the due date, the license shall by operation of law automatically expire and become void without further action of the board.  All establishments whose licenses have expired under this section may be reinstated by filing with the board an application for reinstatement, submitting to an inspection during which time the licensee in charge of such establishment shall be interviewed by the board or its designee and by paying all renewal fees, a reinstatement fee, and other applicable fees.

     (7)  No license shall be assignable or transferable or valid for any establishment other than the original licensee.  License fees and application fees are nonrefundable.

     (8)  A license for each new establishment shall not be issued until an inspection has been made, license and inspection fees have been paid, and the licensee in charge and/or owners of such establishment has been interviewed by the board or its designee.

     (9)  The board is authorized to establish rules and regulations for the issuance of a special funeral establishment work permit.

     SECTION 10.  Section 73-11-56, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-56.  On or before October 1 of each year, the board shall determine the amount of funds that will be required during the next ensuing two (2) years to properly administer the laws which the board is directed to enforce and administer and by rule and regulation shall fix fees in such reasonable sums as may be necessary for such purposes within the following limitations:

  Funeral establishment:

Application fee, for a new or change of

ownership establishment................................ $  500.00

Inspection fee......................................... $   75.00

Renewal application and licensee fee................... $  300.00

Commercial mortuary service license fee

for a new or change of ownership....................... $  500.00

Renewal application and licensee fee................... $  300.00

Crematory application fee for a new

or change of ownership................................. $  500.00

Renewal application and license fee.................... $  300.00

Special work permit.................................... $  150.00

  Funeral service:

Initial application fee................................ $   50.00

Reciprocal application fee............................. $  200.00

Renewal license and application fee.................... $  125.00

Work permit........................................... $   50.00

  Funeral director:

Initial application fee................................ $   50.00

Reciprocal application fee............................. $  200.00

Renewal license and application fee.................... $  100.00

Work permit........................................... $   50.00

  Certified crematory operator:

Initial application fee................................ $  100.00

Renewal license and application fee.................... $  100.00

  Resident trainee certificate:

Funeral service application fee........................ $   50.00

Funeral director application fee....................... $   50.00

Funeral service renewal application fee................. $   50.00

Funeral director renewal application fee................ $   50.00

  Other fees:

Certification fee...................................... $   50.00

Duplicate license fee.................................. $   25.00

     Reinstatement of lapsed license fee, equal to the

amount of the applicable license fee (or the amount of

the application fee for the resident trainees).

     Late fee equal to the amount of the applicable

license fee (or the amount of the application fee

for the resident trainees).

Public records of the board per page................... $    1.00

     All licenses will have a reinstatement and late fee added to the renewal fee if the payment is not in the board's office or postmarked by the due date.

     At least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration date of any license issued by the board, the board shall notify the licensee of the applicable renewal fee therefor.

     SECTION 11.  Section 73-11-57, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-57.  (1)  The board, upon satisfactory proof at proper hearing and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and the regulations of the board, may suspend, revoke, or refuse to issue or renew any license under this chapter, reprimand or place the holder of a license on a term of probation, and/or take any other action in relation to a license as the board may deem proper under the circumstances upon any of the following grounds:

          (a)  The employment of fraud or deception in applying for a license or in passing the examination provided for in this chapter;

          (b)  The erroneous issuance of a license to any person;

          (c)  The conviction of a felony by any court in this state or any federal court or by the court of any other state or territory of the United States; having been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony in the courts of this state or any other state, territory or country which would prevent a person from holding elected office.  Conviction, as used in this paragraph, shall include a deferred conviction, deferred prosecution, deferred sentence, finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere;

          (d)  The practice of embalming under a false name or without a license for the practice of funeral service;

          (e)  The impersonation of another funeral service or funeral directing licensee;

          (f)  The permitting of a person other than a funeral service or funeral directing licensee to make arrangements for a funeral and/or form of disposition;

          (g)  Violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation of the board;

          (h)  Having had a license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing suspended or revoked in any jurisdiction, having voluntarily surrendered his license in any jurisdiction, having been placed on probation in any jurisdiction, having been placed under disciplinary order(s) or other restriction in any manner for funeral directing and/or funeral service, or operating a funeral establishment (a certified copy of the order of suspension, revocation, probation or disciplinary action shall be prima facie evidence of such action);

          (i)  Solicitation of dead human bodies by the licensee, his agents, assistants or employees, whether such solicitation occurs after death or when death is imminent; if the person solicited has made known a desire not to receive the communication, or if the solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment, or if the solicitation takes place at the residence of the client or prospective client and is uninvited by the client or prospective client and has not been previously agreed to by the client or prospective client; however, this shall not be deemed to prohibit general advertising;

          (j)  Employment directly or indirectly of any apprentice, agent, assistant, employee, or other person, on a part-time or full-time basis or on commission, for the purpose of calling upon individuals or institutions by whose influence dead human bodies may be turned over to a particular funeral establishment;

          (k)  Failure to give full cooperation to the board and/or its designees, agents or other representatives in the performance of official duties of the board.  Such failure to cooperate includes, but is not limited to:

              (i)  Not furnishing any relevant papers or documents requested by or for the board;

              (ii)  Not furnishing, in writing, an adequate explanation covering the matter contained in a complaint filed with the board;

              (iii)  Not responding without cause to subpoenas issued by the board, whether or not the licensee is the party charged in any preceding before the board;

              (iv)  Not reasonably providing access, as directed by the board for its authorized agents or representatives seeking to perform reviews or inspections at facilities or places utilized by the license holder in the practice of funeral service or funeral directing and/or in performing any other activity regulated by the board under this chapter;

              (v)  Failure to provide information within the specified time allotted and as required by the board and/or its representatives or designees;

              (vi)  Failure to cooperate with the board or its designees or representatives in the investigation of any alleged misconduct or interfering with a board investigation by willful misrepresentation of facts;

              (vii)  Deceiving or attempting to deceive the board regarding any matter under investigation, including altering or destroying any records; and

              (viii)  Failure, without good cause, to cooperate with any request by the board to appear before it;

          (l)  Knowingly performing any act that in any way assists an unlicensed person to practice funeral service or funeral directing;

          (m)  Knowingly making a false statement on death certificates;

          (n)  Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;

          (o)  Violating any statute, ordinance, rule or regulation of the state or any of its boards, agencies or political subdivisions affecting the registration of deaths or the handling, custody, care or transportation of dead human bodies; or

          (p)  Unprofessional conduct in the practice of funeral service or funeral directing which includes, but is not limited to:

              (i)  Retaining a dead human body for the payment of a fee for the performance of services that are not authorized;

              (ii)  Knowingly performing any act which in any way assists an unlicensed person to practice funeral service or funeral directing;

              (iii)  Being guilty of any dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public;

              (iv)  Any act or omission in the practice of funeral service or directing which constitutes dishonesty, fraud or misrepresentation with the intent to benefit the licensee, another person or funeral establishment, or with the intent to substantially injure another person, licensee or funeral establishment; or

              (v)  Any act or conduct, whether the same or of a different character than specified above, which constitutes or demonstrates bad faith, incompetency or untrustworthiness; or dishonest, fraudulent or improper dealing; or any other violation of the provisions of this chapter, the rules and regulations established by the board or any rule or regulation promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission relative to the practice of funeral service or funeral directing.

     (2)  Any person, including a member of the board, may initiate a complaint against a licensee of the board by filing with the board a written complaint on a form prescribed by the board.

          (a)  Upon receipt of a properly verified complaint, the board shall send a copy of the complaint to the affected licensee by certified mail to the address of such licensee appearing of record with the board.  The licensee shall answer the complaint in writing within twenty (20) days after receipt of the complaint.  The licensee shall mail a copy of his, her or its response to the board and the complainant.  Upon receipt of the licensee's response or lapse of twenty (20) days, the board is authorized to investigate a complaint that appears to show the existence of any of the causes or grounds for disciplinary action as provided in Section 73-11-57.  Upon finding reasonable cause to believe that the charges are not frivolous, unfounded or filed in bad faith, the board may, in its discretion, cause a hearing to be held, at a time and place fixed by the board, regarding the charges that a violation of this chapter has occurred.  The board shall order a hearing for the licensee to appear and show cause why he/she should not be disciplined for a violation of this chapter.

          (b)  The board shall give the complainant and the affected licensee twenty (20) days' notice of any hearing upon a complaint.  Such notice shall be by United States certified mail.

          (c)  Any party appearing before the board may be accompanied by counsel.

          (d)  Before commencing a hearing, the chairman or designee of the board shall determine if all parties are present and ready to proceed.  If the complainant fails to attend a hearing without good cause shown, the complaint shall be dismissed summarily and all fees and expenses of convening the hearing shall be assessed to, and paid by, the complainant.  If any affected licensee fails to appear for a hearing without good cause shown, such licensee shall be presumed to have waived his right to appear before the board and be heard.

          (e)  Upon the chair's determination that all parties are ready to proceed, the chair or designee shall call the hearing to order and the complainant and the licensee may give opening statements.  The board may order the sequestration of nonparty witnesses.

          (f)  The complainant shall then present his, her or its complaint.  The licensee, any counsel and any member or designee of the board may ask questions of witnesses.

          (g)  The licensee shall then present his, her or its case in rebuttal.  The complainant, any counsel and any member or designee of the board may ask questions of witnesses.

          (h)  At the completion of the evidence, all parties may give closing statements.

          (i)  At the conclusion of the hearing, the board may either decide the issue at that time or take the case under advisement for further deliberation.  The board shall render its decision not more than ninety (90) days after the close of the hearing and shall forward the decision to the last-known business or residence address of the parties.

     (3)  The board, on its own motion, may file a formal complaint against a licensee.

     (4)  The board may temporarily suspend a license under this chapter without any hearing, simultaneously with the institution of proceedings under this section, if it finds that the evidence in support of the board's determination is clear, competent and unequivocal and that the licensee's continuation in practice would constitute an imminent danger to public health and safety.

     (5)  The board may, upon satisfactory proof that the applicant or licensee has been guilty of any of the offenses above enumerated, take the action authorized by this section against an applicant or licensee of the board upon a majority vote of the board members, after a hearing thereon.  The board is vested with full power and authority to hold and conduct such hearings, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records and documents, issue subpoenas therefor, administer oaths, examine witnesses, and do all things necessary to properly conduct such hearings.  The board may waive the necessity of a hearing if the person accused of a violation admits that he has been guilty of such offense.  Any person who has been refused a license or whose license has been revoked or suspended may, within thirty (30) days after the decision of the board, file with the board a written notice stating that he feels himself aggrieved by such decision and may appeal therefrom to the circuit court of the county and judicial district of residence of the person, or if the person is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, to the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County.  The circuit court shall determine the action of the board was in accord or consistent with law, or was arbitrary, unwarranted or an abuse of discretion.  The appeal shall be perfected upon filing notice of the appeal with the circuit court and by the prepayment of all costs, including the cost of the preparation of the record of the proceedings by the board.  An appeal from the circuit court judgment or decree may be reviewed by the Supreme Court as is provided by law for other appeals.  An appeal of a decision or order of the board does not act as a supersedeas.

     (6)  In addition to any other power that it has, the board may, upon finding that an applicant or licensee has committed any of the violations listed in Section 73-11-57(1), impose a monetary penalty as follows:

          (a)  For the first violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, a monetary penalty of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

          (b)  For the second violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, a monetary penalty of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).

          (c)  For the third and any subsequent violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, a monetary penalty of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).

          (d)  For any violation of any of the subparagraphs of subsection (1) of this section, those reasonable costs that are expended by the board in the investigation and conduct of a proceeding for licensure revocation or suspension, including, but not limited to, the cost of process service, court reporters, expert witnesses and investigators.

     (7)  The power and authority of the board to assess and levy such monetary penalties hereunder shall not be affected or diminished by any other proceeding, civil or criminal, concerning the same violation or violations except as provided in this section.

     (8)  A licensee shall have the right of appeal from the assessment and levy of a monetary penalty as provided in this section under the same conditions as a right of appeal is provided elsewhere for appeals from an adverse ruling, order or decision of the board.

     (9)  Any monetary penalty assessed and levied under this section shall not take effect until after the time for appeal shall have expired.

     (10)  A monetary penalty assessed and levied under this section shall be paid to the board by the licensee upon the expiration of the period allowed for appeal of such penalties under this section or may be paid sooner if the licensee elects.

     With the exception of subsection (5)(d) of this section, monetary penalties collected by the board under this section shall be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the State Board of Funeral Service.  Any monies collected by the board under subsection (5)(d) of this section shall be deposited into the special fund operating account of the board.

     (11)  When payment of a monetary penalty assessed and levied by the board against a licensee in accordance with this section is not paid by the licensee when due under this section, the board shall have power to institute and maintain proceedings in its name for enforcement of payment in the chancery court of the county and judicial district of residence of the licensee, or if the licensee is a nonresident of the State of Mississippi, in the Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi.

     (12)  In any administrative or judicial proceeding in which the board prevails, the board shall have the right to recover reasonable attorney fees.

     (13)  In addition to the reasons specified in subsection (1) of this section, the board shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153.  The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be.  Actions taken by the board in suspending a license when required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 are not actions from which an appeal may be taken under this section.  Any appeal of a license suspension that is required by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 shall be taken in accordance with the appeal procedure specified in Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, rather than the procedure specified in this section.  If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.

     SECTION 12.  Section 73-11-57.1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-57.1.  The State Board of Funeral Service may revoke, refuse to renew, suspend or place on probation the license of a funeral home establishment or funeral director, or both, if the funeral home or funeral director accepts funds for a preneed funeral contract or other prepayment of funeral expenses without a registration to sell preneed funeral contracts; or is registered to sell preneed funeral contracts and fails to deposit the funds in trust or to timely remit premium payments from consumers to the insurer as provided in Section 75-63-59 and Section 75-63-61, respectively.

     The State Board of Funeral Service shall make written notification to the Secretary of State of all license suspensions and revocations issued by the board as well as written notification for all new licenses issued by the board.  The Secretary of State shall make written notification to the board of all registration suspensions, revocations, orders of cease and desist, and administrative penalties imposed by the Secretary of State under Article 3, Chapter 11, Title 73, Mississippi Code of 1972.

     SECTION 13.  Section 73-11-58, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-58.  (1)  If a decedent has left no written authorization for the cremation and/or disposition of the decedent's body as permitted by law, any of the following persons, in the order of priority listed below, may authorize any lawful manner of disposition of the decedent's body by completion of a written instrument:

          (a)  The person designated by the decedent as authorized to direct disposition pursuant to Public Law No. 109-163, Section 564, as listed on the decedent's United States Department of Defense Record of Emergency Data, DD Form 93, or its successor form, if the decedent died during military service, as provided in 10 USC Section 1481(a)(1) through (8), in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, United States Reserve Forces or National Guard.

          (b)  The surviving spouse.

          (c)  A surviving child who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.

          (d)  A grandchild who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.

          (e)  Either surviving parent.

          (f)  A surviving sibling who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.

          (g)  A person acting as a representative of the decedent under a signed authorization of the decedent.

          (h)  The guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of the decedent's death, if a guardian has been appointed.

          (i)  A person in the class of the next degree of kinship, in descending order, who, under state law, would inherit the decedent's estate if the decedent died intestate and who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.

          (j)  A person who has exhibited special care and concern for the decedent and is willing and able to make decisions about the cremation and disposition.

          (k)  In the case of individuals who have donated their bodies to science or whose death occurred in a nursing home or private institution and in which the institution is charged with making arrangements for the final disposition of the decedent, a representative of the institution may serve as the authorizing agent in the absence of any of the above.

          (l)  In the absence of any of the above, any person willing to assume responsibility for the cremation and disposition of the decedent.

          (m)  In the case of indigents or any other individuals whose final disposition is the responsibility of the state or any of its instrumentalities, a public administrator, medical examiner, coroner, state-appointed guardian, or any other public official charged with arranging the final disposition of the decedent may serve as the authorizing agent.

     (2)  No funeral establishment shall accept a dead human body from any public officer or employee or from the official of any institution, hospital or nursing home, or from a physician or any person having a professional relationship with a decedent, without having first made due inquiry as to the desires of the persons who have the legal authority to direct the disposition of the decedent's body.  If any persons are found, their authority and directions shall govern the disposal of the remains of the decedent.  Any funeral establishment receiving the remains in violation of this subsection shall make no charge for any service in connection with the remains before delivery of the remains as stipulated by the persons having legal authority to direct the disposition of the body.  This section shall not prevent any funeral establishment from charging and being reimbursed for services rendered in connection with the removal of the remains of any deceased person in case of accidental or violent death and rendering necessary professional services required until the persons having legal authority to direct the disposition of the body have been notified.

     (3)  A person who does not exercise his or her right to dispose of the decedent's body under subsection (1) of this section within five (5) days of notification or ten (10) days from the date of the death, whichever is earlier, shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to authorize disposition of the decedent's body or contest disposition in accordance with this section.  If, during the aforesaid time period, the funeral director, funeral service practitioner and/or funeral establishment has been provided contrary written consent from members of the same class with the highest priority as to the disposition of the decedent's body, the licensed funeral director or service practitioner or funeral establishment shall act in accordance with the directive of the greatest number of consents received from members of the class.  If that number is equal, the funeral director or funeral service practitioner and/or the funeral establishment shall act in accordance with the earlier consent unless the person(s) providing the later consent is granted an order from a court of competent jurisdiction in which the funeral establishment is located.

     (4)  If no consent for the embalming, cremation or other disposition of a dead human body from any of the relatives or interested persons or institutions listed above in subsection (1) is received within ten (10) days of the decedent's death, the coroner for, or other person designated by, the county in which the funeral establishment is located is authorized to sign the consent authorizing the disposition of the decedent's remains.

     (5)  If none of the parties listed above in subsection (1) is financially capable of providing for the cremation, embalming or disposition of a dead human body, the coroner for, or other person designated by, the county in which the funeral establishment is located is authorized to sign the consent authorizing the disposition of the decedent's remains.

     (6)  The licensed funeral director, funeral service practitioner or funeral establishment shall have authority to control the disposition of the remains of a decedent and proceed to recover the costs for the disposition when:  (a) none of the persons or parties described above in subsection (1)(a) through (l) assume responsibility for the disposition of the remains, and (b) the coroner or other public official designated in subsection (1)(m) fails to assume responsibility for disposition of the remains within seven (7) days after having been given written notice of the facts.  Written notice may be made by personal delivery, United States mail, facsimile or transmission.  The method of disposition must be in the least costly and most environmentally sound manner that complies with law, and that does not conflict with known wishes of the decedent.

     (7)  A funeral director, funeral service and/or funeral establishment licensee acting in accordance with this section, or attempting in good faith to act in accordance with this section, shall not be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability for carrying out the otherwise lawful instructions of the person or persons described in this section.

     (8)  The liability for the reasonable cost of the final disposition of the remains of the decedent devolves upon the individual or entity authorizing the disposition and/or upon the estate of the decedent and, in cases when the county board of supervisors has the right to control the disposition of the remains under this section, upon the county in which the death occurred.

     SECTION 14.  Section 73-11-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-59.  Any person, partnership, corporation, association or his or her or its agents or representatives who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months in the county jail, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

     SECTION 15.  Section 73-11-61, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-61.  Every funeral director or funeral service licensee shall provide, before the rendering of services, the funeral establishment's current general price list, casket price list, outer container price list, and a statement of goods and services to the person or persons who authorize the services and is responsible for payment of the expenses therefor, in a manner and format as prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule of 1984 and any future changes with regard to required disclosures.  The general price list must be made available to any person upon request.

     SECTION 16.  Section 73-11-63, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-63.  Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize the regulation or licensing of cemeteries or cemetery chapels by the board, except the regulation or licensing of any funeral establishment operated by a cemetery.  In addition, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent or interfere with the ceremonies, customs, religious rites or religion of any people, denomination, or sect, or to prevent or interfere with any religious denomination, sect or anybody composed of persons of a denomination, or to prevent or interfere with any church or synagogue from having its committee or committees prepare human bodies for burial or the families, friends or neighbors of deceased persons who prepare and bury their dead without charge.

     SECTION 17.  Section 73-11-65, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-65.  Every funeral service or interment, or part thereof, that is conducted in Mississippi must be in the actual charge and under the supervision of a funeral director or funeral service licensee who is licensed under this chapter.  However, this section shall not prevent a family from burying its own dead without charge.

     SECTION 18.  Section 73-11-67, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-67.  (1)  Every person, establishment or company not licensed under this chapter that sells caskets at retail shall register annually with the board.  The names of registrants under this section shall be made available to any person upon request during the regular business hours of the board.  The procedure for conducting a disciplinary proceeding against any casket retailer accused of failing to register with the board, as well as the penal sanctions available to the board, shall be the same as those set forth in Section 73-11-57.

     (2)  Any person, establishment or company required to register under subsection (1) of this section that sells preneed contracts for caskets, either directly or indirectly or through an agent, shall be required to meet all of the requirements of Sections 75-63-51 through 75-63-75 that are applicable to preneed contracts for funeral services under those sections.  For the purposes of this section, the term "preneed contract for caskets" means any contract, agreement or any series or combination of contracts or agreements, whether funded by trust deposits or insurance, or any combination thereof, that is for the purpose of furnishing or delivering a casket or caskets for the final disposition of a dead human body, to be furnished or delivered at a time determinable by the death of the person whose body is to be disposed of.

     SECTION 19.  Section 73-11-69, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted and amended as follows:

     73-11-69.  (1)  No person or party shall conduct, maintain, manage or operate a crematory unless a license for each such crematory has been issued by the board and is conspicuously displayed in such crematory.

     (2)  The operator of a crematory facility shall issue a certificate of cremation to the family of each person cremated in the facility.  In addition, the operator of the crematory facility shall maintain a log of all cremations performed in the facility, and this log shall match the certificates of cremation that have been issued by the facility.

     (3)  No operator of a crematory facility shall knowingly represent that an urn or temporary container contains the recovered cremated remains of specific decedent or of body parts removed from a specific decedent when it does not.  This subsection does not prohibit the making of such a representation because of the presence in the recovered cremated remains of de minimis amounts of the cremated remains of another decedent or of body parts.

     (4)  The board shall inspect each licensed crematory facility during each licensure period, and at such other times as necessary, to verify that the crematory facility is in compliance with the requirements of this section.  Any person who operates a crematory facility in this state without a license, or any person who otherwise violates any provision of this section, is guilty of a felony.  Upon conviction for a violation of this section, in addition to any penalty that may be imposed by the court, the board may revoke the person's crematory facility license.

     (5)  If the retort of a crematory becomes in need of repair, then the operator of the crematory shall notify the board in writing and by telephone within forty-eight (48) hours of discovery of the need to repair, and no cremation shall be made from the time of discovery until satisfactory proof is provided to the board that the repair has been made.

     (6)  The board may promulgate such rules and regulations as deemed necessary for the proper licensure and regulation of crematory facilities in this state.  Such rules and regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following:  crematory facility requirements, identification of deceased human beings, cremation process, processing of remains, * * *comingling commingling of human remains, disposition of cremated remains, removal of human remains and proper documentation requirements as prescribed by state agencies.

     (7)  Any crematory or funeral establishment may dispose of any remains unclaimed by the family after twelve (12) months after cremation by scattering or burial upon a final notification to the next of kin by certified mail to their last-known address.

     (8)  The crematory retort operator must be a certified crematory operator as defined in Section 73-11-41.

     (9)  No crematory facility licensed by the board shall be used for the cremation of deceased animals.

     (10)  A crematory may be constructed on or adjacent to any cemetery, on or adjacent to any funeral establishment, or at any other location consistent with local zoning regulations.

     SECTION 20.  Section 73-11-71, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-71.  (1)  Upon the completion of each cremation, and insofar as is practicable, all of the recoverable residue of the cremation process shall be removed from the crematory and placed in a separate container so that the residue may not be commingled with the cremated remains of other persons.  Cremated remains of a dead human shall not be divided or separated without the prior written consent from the person entitled to control the disposition of the cremated remains.

     (2)  Written acknowledgement from the person entitled to control the disposition of the cremated remains shall be obtained by the person with whom arrangements are made for disposition of the remains on a form that includes, but is not limited to, the following information:

     "The human body burns with the casket, container or other material in the cremation chamber.  Some bone fragments are not combustible at the incineration temperature and, as a result, remain in the cremation chamber.  During the cremation, the contents of the chamber may be moved to facilitate incineration.  The chamber is composed of ceramic or other material which disintegrates slightly during each cremation and the produce of that disintegration is commingled with the cremated remains.  Nearly all of the contents of the cremation chamber, consisting of the cremated remains, disintegrated chamber material, and small amounts of residue from previous cremations, are removed together and crushed, pulverized or ground to facilitate inurnment or scattering.  Some residue remains in the cracks and uneven places of the chamber.  Periodically, the accumulation of this residue is removed and interred in a dedicated cemetery property or appropriate area."

     The acknowledgment shall be filed and retained for at least three (3) years by the person who disposes of or inters the remains.

     SECTION 21.  Section 73-11-73, Mississippi Code of 1972, is reenacted as follows:

     73-11-73.  (1)  A funeral establishment and its employees, licensees and/or representatives shall not respond to a death call unless properly contacted and requested to so respond.  No person or entity subject to regulation under this chapter shall remove or cause to be removed any dead human body from the place of death or take or cause to take custody of a dead human body without the permission of the next of kin or authorized representative, in the order of priority specified in Section 73-11-58, of the deceased.

     (2)  Dead human bodies may be picked up on first call or removed by a funeral director or funeral service practitioner licensed by the board or under the direction of the licensed funeral director or funeral service practitioner.  When a licensed funeral director or funeral service practitioner directs another to make a first call or removal of a dead human body, he accepts, in every manner, full responsibility for all aspects of the first call or removal.

     (3)  A licensed funeral establishment or other licensee of the board shall not embalm or cremate a dead human body without the prior written or oral consent of the next of kin or authorizing agent or representative of the deceased for each body that is placed under its care and custody.  In determining who the proper next of kin is or authorizing agent or representative of the deceased, the order of priority is the same as provided in Section 73-11-58.

     (4)  The licensed funeral establishment or licensee responsible for the embalming or cremation of the dead human body shall create a written record of an oral consent given under this section that includes all of the following:

          (a)  The name of the authorizing agent;

          (b)  The relation of the authorizing agent to the deceased;

          (c)  The date and time that consent was given;

          (d)  The name of the person who obtained the consent; and

          (e)  Any other information required by the board.

     SECTION 22.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2021.


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