Going to Committee!

The Home Care of Our Deceased bill has been introduced in both the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate, thanks to Representative Carolyn Laine and Senator Sandy Pappas.  As you know, Minnesota is the only state that requires embalming for a public visitation.  For a concise explanation of problems with the current law and how this bill fixes them, see the “Talking Points” below.  To see the bill, click here.

HF 3151 and SF 2903 will be going to committee hearings mid-March. It is important that the members of the House and Senate Health Care committees hear from constituents who support this bill. The names and contact information of committee members are listed below. If we all let 2 or 3 committee members know that we support the bill, it could make a big difference.

House Health Care and Human Services Committee 

Committee Chair Paul Thissen  E-mail: rep.paul.thissen@house.mn 

Vice Chair Tina Liebling  E-mail: rep.tina.liebling@house.mn 

Lead-GOP Jim Abeler  E-mail: rep.jim.abeler@house.mn 

Laura Brod  E-mail: rep.laura.brod@house.mn 

Julie Bunn  E-mail: rep.julie.bunn@house.mn 

Tom Emmer  E-mail: rep.tom.emmer@house.mn 

Patti Fritz  E-mail: rep.patti.fritz@house.mn 

Paul Gardner  E-mail: rep.paul.gardner@house.mn 

Steve Gottwalt  E-mail: rep.steve.gottwalt@house.mn 

Jeff Hayden  E-mail: rep.jeff.hayden@house.mn 

Thomas Huntley  E-mail: rep.thomas.huntley@house.mn 

Tim Kelly  E-mail: rep.tim.kelly@house.mn 

Carolyn Laine  E-mail: rep.carolyn.laine@house.mn 

Diane Loeffler  E-mail: rep.diane.loeffler@house.mn 

Tara Mack  E-mail: rep.tara.mack@house.mn 

Erin Murphy  E-mail: rep.erin.murphy@house.mn 

Kim Norton  E-mail: rep.kim.norton@house.mn 

Maria Ruud  E-mail: rep.maria.ruud@house.mn 

Cy Thao  E-mail: rep.cy.thao@house.mn 

Paul Torkelson  E-mail: rep.paul.torkelson@house.mn 

Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee 

Click on any name to go to that senator’s webpage, where you can get the telephone number or send an email.

Chair: John Marty
Vice Chair: Patricia Torres Ray
Ranking Minority Member: Paul E. Koering
Member: Linda Berglin
  John P. Doll
  Sharon L. Erickson Ropes
  Michelle L. Fischbach
  David W. Hann
  Linda Higgins
  Debbie J. Johnson
  Tony Lourey
  Ann Lynch
  Yvonne Prettner Solon

 

Talking Points: Home Care of our Deceased – Family Rights Legislation

 Minnesota is the only state in the nation that requires embalming for public viewing of a dead body. This means that families cannot legally care for their own deceased or hold a vigil, without embalming, in their own home with anyone other than adult family and close friends of the decedent present. There is no medical basis for such a requirement. The state should give families with varied religious and personal beliefs more choices at the end of life.

 We allow for home births, home schooling, living-at-home elder services, for home hospice. Caring for our own deceased is part of the continuum of personal management of our lives and loved ones. It can be an expression of deep spiritual beliefs and can provide psychological and financial benefits to families who have lost a loved one.

 Current Law Is Overreaching:

  • Requires embalming for public visitation.
  • Prevents minors from being at a private vigil without embalming.
  • Puts unnecessary restrictions on how a dead body may be transported.

 Proposed Changes  H.F. 3151  S.F. 2309

  • Allows families to wash and care for the body and have a home vigil.
  • Allows visitation with dry ice instead of embalming.
  • Allows funeral directors to transport the body to a home.
  • Allows safe, appropriate transportation options for the family.

 Why do we need these changes?

  • Gives personal choice and individual liberty about a family decision
  • Respects religious, spiritual and cultural differences
  • Saves money for families who chose to care for their own (average cost of funeral services alone is $7,000 plus burial costs.
  • Protects the environment from toxic embalming chemicals
  • Gives the consumer equal rights with the funeral industry
  • Puts Minnesota on track with other states that have progressive laws.

 Is there a public health risk in allowing home funerals?

Medical science says there’s rarely any danger to the public from people who have recently died. The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Pan-American Health Organization have all published data backing this up. There are no studies showing any public health threat from unembalmed bodies. There is no evidence of rampant disease in countries around the world where embalming is seldom practiced.

 Organizations supporting the legislation include:

  • The Minnesota Threshold Network, for those interested in end-of-life care, home funeral vigils, and green burials: https://mnthresholdnetwork.wordpress.com
  • Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas
  • Minnesota Holistic Medical Group http://holisticphysicians.info
  • Older Women’s League of Minnesota
  • Funeral Consumer Alliance of Minnesota
  • Adidam Twin Cities

 

The MN Dept. of Health and funeral directors’ association assisted with the bill.

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