Republican Rep. Tom Forese of Chandler sponsored three bills this session to loosen regulations on the undertaking industry, and allow them to bring on interns to do some of the work.
Forese said industry representatives approached him about the measures and, after talking to his local funeral homes about the ideas, he decided to sponsor the bills to help them. He said that learning about the industry and moving the bills hasn’t been easy.
“It’s been quite the undertaking,” Forese quipped.
His HB2771 would allow funeral homes to take advantage of the help of interns by employing them for up to one year at a college of mortuary science, and to allow them to assist in preparation of human remains.
Interns would have to undergo a background check and fingerprinting.
Forese said while the business is lucrative, the dark nature of the industry scares many people away, and funeral directors want to be able to have interns find out quickly if it is the right business for them.
HB2272 would allow crematories to designate an interim person to do the duties of a licensed funeral director or embalmer. It would add to the list of actions immune from civil liability carrying out the written wishes of the dead or someone acting as their attorney. And it would allow employees, under supervision of a responsible cremationist, to open containers containing human remains.
Both of those bills cleared the House Commerce Committee, which Forese chairs, and were approved by the full House. A measure to repeal the statute authorizing apprentice embalmers cleared the Senate and is now heading to his committee.