On Tuesday, the House and Senate held a Committee of Reference hearing to discuss the Funeral Board. The video from Tuesday’s COR hearing can be viewed here: Video Player (azleg.gov). The Funeral Board discussion starts at the 2-hour, 50-minute mark.
As expected from our discussion with Sen. Kaiser prior to the hearing, the Auditor General provided a brief overview of their previous findings and recommendations, and Sen. Kaiser reminded the Committee about last year’s bill to terminate the Board in March of 2023. Director Culbertson also provided an overview of the Board’s function, and all of the actions that the Board has taken to correct the Auditor General’s findings.
Our lobbyist provided testimony to place on the record our desire for future stakeholder meetings with Sen. Kaiser (the main proponent of future legislation related to the profession’s regulation) and that retaining licensure is of the utmost importance. In some positive news, Sen. Kaiser and others on the committee made it clear that their intent is not to “deregulate,” or even remove licensure, but rather to find a different way or home to regulate the profession with emphasis on moving the Board into the Department of Health.
Ultimately, the Committee moved to recommend a sunset of the Board to September to provide the legislature the opportunity to find the new “home” to regulate the profession, in this case the Department of Health. The motion passed party line as Democrats on the committee urged a two-year continuation of the Board.
We will be working with Senator Kaiser in the coming days and weeks, and we are optimistic that we will find a resolution that retains regulation and licensure going forward.