On March 17, the Minnesota Senate health policy committee passed SF2903, the Home Care of Our Deceased – Family Rights legislation. Senator Sandy Pappas introduced the bill. Heather Halen, Dr. Michael Osterholm, and a representative from the Minnesot Department of Health provided powerful, supportive testimony. The president of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association, Cory Michaelson also testified. After many questions and much discussion, the vote passed with only one dissention. The No vote was cast by Senator Paul Koering, who has ties to the funeral business.
The Senate committee made a minor change to the language in one section, unwittingly changing something that is needed by the Dept. of Health. The House and Senate authors will be sure that is fixed as they move through the process of voting on the floors of the two bodies.
A big thank-you to all who called the Senators. They received many calls, and we think that made a difference. A special thanks to those of you who attended the House hearing last week and/or the Senate hearing this week.
WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO!!!
The funeral directors’ concern about the bill is a change from last week, when they emphasized that using dry ice instead of embalming will be an option, and that funerals directors do not have to offer it. At least one legislator has been called by a funeral directors voicing his opposition. It is important that your legislators know that you support this bill! We will email you when the next vote is coming up. In the meantime, please ask friends and family in greater Minnesota for their help. When you receive an alert of an impending vote, please forward the email on to them and have them contact their local legislators. Funeral directors in towns across the state may be calling. Let the voices of consumers who value more choice in dealing with our loved ones’ deaths be heard, too.