NFDA Policy Board Report from the Hill

By: Steve Palmer, NFDA Policy Board Rep for Arizona

Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas spoke. Straight forward, truthful communication is the key to success in business and politics. It is easy to lead when all is going well. The true test is going to where there is a problem. Most of you succeed despite what the government does to you not health. The federal government cannot deliver healthcare effectively, it is too big and too many are power-ensconced.

ADVOCACY ISSUES for Congressional Visits-Bryan Hightower and Leslie Witter

Veterans funeral and burial benefits-enables and directs NFDA staff to advocate for benefits for veterans. Raise burial benefits to $2,000 for death in a VA department facility. Non service benefits from 300 to 2000. Allow for index allowing for inflation in the future.

HR250: The Families of Fallen Service Members. Ensuring immediate benefit to survivors of fallen soldiers to help with immediate needs.

HR1109 to increase Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit from the sixty year old $255 to $1000 It would still be only available to spouse and dependent children.

PAC REPORT-David Weber

NFDA PAC-To elect to Congress candidates who support funeral service and small business. PAC is used for contributions to these candidates and for expenses in meeting and advocating to them. Funds can be made available for political events in your state.


Go to the fundraisers that they hold. You usually can get noticed and be remembered. A well connected lobbyist is valuable. A state PAC fund is important. Ohio raises $20,000 which is not the largest. Communication between state association office and members to know what member knows what legislator. Politicians know the value of funeral director friends as they know FDs are respected and well known. Legislator’s Chief of Staff is the key person to know.

LEADERSHIP-It is not about you, it is responsibility. It is upholding values, not just speaking of them, but living them. Arrogance is a great failing in leadership. It distorts judgment. It needs to be larger than yourself. Be self-reflective and consider how your leadership affects others.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE-38 states now allow it.

ALKALINE HYDROLYSIS– Ohio and Indiana currently have bills to create this type of disposition)

FTC & State Boards- The dental board (dentists, one dental hygienist and one consumer member) decided that unlicensed teeth whitener businesses could not practice and issued cease and desist orders. FTC said that wasn’t fair, you are just protecting your interests. The lesson is that a state board needs to be careful on what their purpose is and is their regulation self-serving.

MEMBERSHIP: 21,804 individual members (upswing). Main location numbers go down due to consolidation. AZ has 66 members up from 62 in 2013. 685 crematory operators have been certified in the last two years with the NFDA Crematory Certification program. 16 programs already scheduled for 2015. Working with Hospice: exchanging speakers and exhibiting at each other’s conventions.

STATE REPORTS- VERMONT has a green cemetery who wants exemption from the cemetery regulations. The Green Burial Council is against them. It doesn’t look like they will succeed. OREGON Mortuary Board has filed a bill allowing them to inspect full body donation facilities (such as Science Care type places) as they are currently unregulated. Their CE requirement has been put on hold as it would affect all licensees such as cemeteries and crematories who never had an educational requirement to begin with. NEW YORK FDA is sponsoring a bill to allow food and beverages in their facilities.