House Bill Would Allow Burials at Eternal Hills

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The state house has passed a bill that would allow burials at Eternal Hills Cemetery.  House Bill 4073 passed without opposition Monday and has its first reading in the state Senate today. It would allow the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board to issue day-use permits to licensed funeral practitioners for burials at unlicensed cemeteries, extending a 2015 law that expired. 

JOINT RELEASE

REPRESENTATIVE SHERRIE SPRENGER

REPRESENTATIVE E. WERNER RESCHKE

The Oregon House of Representatives today unanimously approved legislation with the goal of ensuring that families maintain access to cemetery plots regardless of the status of a cemetery’s operating license. Chief sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, HB 4073 provides for a minor fix to Oregon’s cemetery and mortuary laws.

 

“HB 4073 represents a small but meaningful adjustment to cemetery and mortuary laws in Oregon,” said Representative Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio), who carried the bill during today’s floor session. “In passing this bill, we are providing Oregonians with an opportunity to access cemetery plots that have been in their families for years. We should not allow the status of a cemetery’s license to get in the way of Oregonians being able to lay their family members to rest in the way they see fit.”

 

Under current law, cemeteries with an invalid license are prohibited from interning a deceased person, even if a cemetery plot had been purchased and designated years in advance. In 2015, the Legislature approved a law allowing the State Mortuary and Cemetery Board to issue temporary permits for interment for cemeteries with an invalid license. According to testimony presented by the Legislative Policy and Research Office, 145 temporary permits were issued before the law sunsetted on January 1, 2018. HB 4073 would allow the Board to issue permits on a permanent basis.

 

“I am pleased that this commonsense bill has earned bipartisan support from lawmakers,” said Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls). “We owe it to Oregon families to do everything we can to honor their end-of-life plans and respect the wishes of those who are no longer with us. I am hopeful this bill will make it to the Governor’s desk before the end of session.”

 

HB 4073 passed the House by a vote of 57-0.