Advocacy

 
Legislative_Update_020619

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Virginia General Assembly: Who’s My Legislator?
https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
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Good morning members.

I wanted to let everyone know of a change in our legislative agenda for 2019. Earlier this week, Larry Spiaggi, Angie Bezik, Julia Hammond, and I had a conference call with the Virginia Bar Association regarding the Next of Kin Law. The bar association does not fully oppose our law, as they tried without success to create a similar law more than 10 years ago. However, they want to force a stakeholders committee with several key groups to make this law work. They found areas where it could conflict with certain areas of established code as it is currently written and because of that we are choosing to pull the legislation for 2019. We plan to work together on this between now and summer time and plan to present again with the 2020 General Assembly. Our goal of creating a next of kin law with a solid backbone has been delayed, but is not over. We will continue to work hard on this law to polish some wording and content and we will be back next year!

Jay McIntyre, CFSP
VFDA Legislative Committee Chair
Licensed Funeral Director
McMullen Funeral Home
5784 Greenmount Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
540.833.2891-Work
540.421.6585-Cell
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Good Thursday afternoon. When I took over as legislative committee chair, I promised I would keep the association informed on current legislative issues both throughout the year and especially during the General Assembly Session. Through the hard work and dedication of quite a few, our legislative agenda is off to a great start. While there is still some opposition we will likely encounter, we are pleased with how the first full week of session has gone. I want to give a brief breakdown of what we know so far and what we expect going forward.

SB1300 – Senator John Edwards – Member Robert Givens approached the association about changing the cap on the number of families served by one manager of record serving multiple rooftops. This very simple change from 85 families to 135 families was carried by Senator John Edwards. On Monday when the bill was read before the committee, there was no opposition, and due to his stellar presentation, there was no need for anyone to speak in favor of the bill. SB1300 passed through committee with a unanimous 14-0 vote, and is ready to be discussed on the floor of the Senate.

SB1439/HB2445 – Senator Jennifer McClellan and Senator John Cosgrove and Delegate Tony Wilt – These companion bills address the mandatory usage of the EDRS by Virginia Medical Certifiers and lays out a pathway to full usage with a segmented roll out. As I have mentioned along the way, there were many meetings, phone calls and emails, all of which have gotten us to this point. Based on what has been agreed to in terms of phasing in the doctors by specialty, the bill will require full usage by December 31, 2019. SB1439 passed full committee and is now ready for discussion on the floor of the Senate. We have not yet heard when this will be discussed in the appropriate House committee.

SB1478/HB2116 – Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate Mark Sickles – This is the next of kin bill. We have worked diligently and opened our minds and ears to several adjustments and improvements to wording. This bill does face opposition from those who have not yet seen the full text, but only heard about it. Because of the opposition we face, we understand that this is not a sure thing, but we also feel as if once read by the membership of all the associations, our case is much stronger. Those who actually read the text, like what it does to protect both your funeral home and the consumer. SB1478 was re-assigned to a more appropriate committee and will be read one day next week. We welcome anyone who wants to see the full text of this legislation to reach out to either me or Lacy and we will send it to you.

SB1247/HB1828 – Senator Bryce Reeves and Delegate Bobby Orrock – This bill addresses the sale of caskets in Virginia by a third party. After some discussion between the VFDA and the IFHV, both sides came to an agreement to re-write the original text to better comply with the FTC Funeral Rule. The wording clearly spells out that funeral homes must accept third party caskets, and that no longer do you have to maintain a Funeral Service License to sell funeral merchandise. This same issue was addressed last year after a funeral home refused a third party casket, which led to the clarification by the state board this past summer. I want the funeral homes to understand, the law was going to be challenged in Virginia and would have eventually been overturned. So please do not direct any frustrations towards the members of the State Board. This law also clearly defines that preneed caskets can only be sold by funeral homes. That wording is as follows: A. Only a licensed funeral establishment or funeral service licensee shall offer for sale or sell a casket when preneed arrangements for funeral services, including preneed funeral contracts and preneed funeral planning are being made.

Finally, I just want you let you know what work is being done behind the scenes for you as members. Angie Bezik, Julia Hammond, and Ryan O’Toole, who are your lobbyists, find a way to fit extra hours in the day and work long hours on your behalf. Along with your lobbyists, the members of this committee, Larry Spiaggi and Lacy, have all read legislation, attended meetings, exchanged countless emails and spoken on the phone more times than you could imagine to see that our legislative agenda is fully achieved. We take great pride in being recognized on the hill as being a voice of the funeral industry in Virginia and plan to keep it that way.

While I know this update is longer than most I send, it is packed full on information. We are off to a great start with our legislation in 2019 and look forward to a fully achieved agenda. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call me.
Thanks,

Jay McIntyre, CFSP
VFDA Legislative Committee Chair
Licensed Funeral Director
McMullen Funeral Home
5784 Greenmount Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
540.833.2891-Work
540.421.6585-Cell

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VFDA 2019 Legislative Agenda

  • Electronic Death Registration System – EDRS (§ 32.1-263. Filing death certificates; medical certification; investigation by Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.)
  • Next-of-Kin Updates (§ 32.1-309.1. Identification of decedent, next of kin; disposition of claimed dead body.)
  • Increase the number of services for multiple funeral facilities from 85 to 135 (§ 54.1-2810. Licensure of funeral establishments)

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