Monday, January 10, 2022 marked the beginning of the Arizona – Fifty-fifth Legislature – Second Regular Session (2022).
On Tuesday, January 11, 2022 the Arizona House of Representatives Interim Commerce Committee met with the Sunset Review of the Arizona Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers on their Agenda.
After reviewing the Arizona Auditor General report and the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers report, the committee’s largest concern was that within the audit there were 24 Violations found and in the past 9 months only 6 were fixed (25%).
The hearing concluded with the Committee’s recommendation that the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers have 2 years to fix the remaining 18 violations, and at that time they could possibly face sunsetting of the board.
The Sunset Review hearing will also be heard in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 where they will review the audit, the House recommendations and listen to testimonials. AFCCA will plan to have representation at the hearing to speak on the benefits of the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.
Several of the issues that were found in the audit are due to:
- Staffing issues at the State Board – Executive Director has taken a new position, there is a brand new inspector that started in January, but lack of training is available.
- Several issues are legislative and changes in statute such as:
- Fingerprint cards – Most funeral directors in the state were fingerprinted once as an intern and those cards have long since expired, however there is no language in statute that mandates future background checks and new fingerprint cards. Many boards utilize a 6 year fingerprint card system that our board should consider
- Disposition fees have been $4 since 1997 – the board is self-funded and thus underfunded without a increase in disposition fees
- Workload and complaints have increased over 1100% over the past 10 years, which could be addressed by appropriately funding in order to fully staff the state board and efficiently address these complaints.
What are the Next Steps
Your AFCCA Board of Directors will ask for an opportunity to meet with members of the Senate Commerce Committee to allow us the opportunity to work together with our state board, our profession and the legislature to make the improvements necessary to correct violations in the audit report.
We will work towards changing in statute:
- That Fingerprint Cards and Background Checks must be reissued every six years, similar to other state boards.
- An increase in disposition fees in order to fund our State Board appropriately so that they may hire and pay staff to insure inspections are done and complaints are mitigated and managed.
This will all require heavily on the support of the funeral profession as a whole. We must preserve the ethical standards that a robust State Board brings to our families and profession. As we move through this legislative session, we will be asking you to speak up as necessary. One voice is a nuisance, many voices are a movement.
2022 Legislative Watch
Below are two bills that have been introduced that affect the Funeral and Cemetery Profession. We will continue to monitor and update as the session unfolds:
- HB2024 – Relating to adding in alkaline hydrolysis as a form of disposition
- The Board of Directors is in favor of this bill
- Would like to request a meeting with Sponsor, Rep Michelle Udall
- HB2032 – Relating to criminal damage, mentions cemetery and mortuary
- Adds in the terminology “A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE MONUMENT, MEMORIAL OR STATUE” as part of criminal damage to cemetery/mortuary and clarifies the levels of misdemeanors and felonies
- At this time the board does not see any issues with this bill
Thank you for your support of the Arizona Funeral Cemetery and Cremation Association and for your future support during the 2022 Legislative Session.