UPDATE— HF3151 has passed both the House and Senate, and only awaits the governor’s signature to become law. The bill reverses some misguided changes the law that restricted families who wanted to care for their own dead without hiring a funeral director.
- Gets rid of the nonsensical requirement that all bodies be driven in a vehicle where the casket and driver were “in the same cab.” This virtually required hearses, and barred families from using, for example, grandpa’s antique pick-up to bring him to the cemetery.
- Gets rid of Minnesota’s unique-in-the-nation requirement to have bodies embalmed for public viewing. Dry ice or refrigeration are now acceptable alternatives. While the bill says, awkwardly, that dry ice may only be used when the body is “publicly viewed within private property,” we’re told this isn’t meant to restrict funeral homes from using dry ice if the family requests it. We’re not sure what this clause is meant to prevent (public viewings at a park?).
- Lifts the restrictions on minor children viewing an unembalmed body.
- Once again allows families to be present during the embalming, if they request and the funeral home consents.
- Seems to allow those with religious objections to embalming to decline it, even if the body is transported by common carrier. The language is a bit vague, and we’d prefer that anyone—regardless of religion—have the option to decline embalming for shipping, but this is progress.
Special thanks to Rep. Carolyn Laine, who fought tirelessly for the bill, and the volunteers of the Minnesota Threshold Network for their advocacy.
3/11/2010— HF3151 would amend state law to ensure private families are able to claim, transport, and bury their dead without hiring a funeral home. Rep. Carolyn Laine’s bill would also get rid of Minnesota’s unique requirement that all bodies on public display be embalmed. Instead, funeral homes would be able to use dry ice for families who object to embalming.