PolitickerNJ Wire Feed

By Alise Roderer | January 14th, 2013 - 5:49pm
| More

WEINBERG BILL PACKAGE TO ENSURE FAIRNESS IN BURIAL COSTS MOVES FORWARD

Bills Would Ensure Grieving Families Aren’t Victimized by Unfair Practices

TRENTON – A package of four bills sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg to protect grieving families from outrageous burial fees or unfair business practices which drive up the cost of burial in New Jersey was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee today.

“Saying goodbye to a loved one and making arrangements for their final resting place has to be among the hardest things any of us will ever be asked to do,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “For some unscrupulous individuals, however, our time of grief and vulnerability can mean an opportunity to cash in. These bills, taken in their totality, represent an earnest effort to protect grieving families from victimization by those who would seek to take advantage.”

The bills approved by the Commerce Committee would:

Increase the number of people on the New Jersey Cemetery Board to provide equal representation between public members and members who have served on the governing board or as an official of a cemetery company (S-776, sponsored with Senator Bob Gordon, D-Bergen and Passaic, approved by a vote of 6-0);

Prohibit cemetery companies from charging additional fees for rendering certain services on Sunday (S-779, approved by a vote of 4-0, with two abstentions). Senator Weinberg noted that many cemeteries currently charge families more to bury a loved one on Sunday, even though the family’s religious beliefs may dictate that burial must take place in a certain timeframe after the person passes away. Senator Weinberg’s bill would permit the charging of any actual additional or increased costs to the cemetery resulting from a Sunday burial, but would prohibit arbitrary cost increases relating to the day of the week;

Require cemetery companies to file annual financial reports with the New Jersey Cemetery Board (S-1441, approved by a vote of 6-0). Senator Weinberg noted that New Jersey is one of a few states that requires cemeteries to be not-for-profit companies. However, some cemetery companies have entered into management agreements with for-profit entities which can be paid large amounts for their management services. According to Senator Weinberg, by requiring cemeteries to file annual financial reports, such lucrative agreements between cemeteries and management companies would come to light;

Exclude the conveyance of a right of burial in a grave, crypt or plot from a 15% transfer fee that cemetery companies currently charge (S-2393, approved by a vote of 4-1, with one abstention). The bill would distinguish between the transfer of title to a grave, and the right to burial in a grave, thereby maintaining the transfer fee when the title to a grave, crypt or plot is transferred.

A fifth bill, S-780, which would require cemeteries regulated by the New Jersey Cemetery Board to accept all human remains for internment, even if the only means of payment available to purchase a grave or crypt is the burial allowance permitted for recipients of benefits under Work First New Jersey and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) was held for amendment.

“This is about treating grieving families with compassion and fairness, rather than as an opportunity for a quick buck,” said Senator Weinberg. “There are many cemetery operators that do their jobs admirably, and put the needs of the families ahead of any financial consideration. However, for those who would take advantage of grief-stricken families and individuals, we have to do a better job at exposing these unscrupulous operators to the light of day and abolishing unfair business practices which drive up the cost of burial on families in need.”

S-779 now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for review, before going to the full Senate for consideration. The rest of the bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.

 

Contact Info: 

Jason Butkowski
NJ Senate Democratic Office
609-847-3700
JButkowski@njleg.org

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: July 22nd

  Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich has died Union County today mourns the loss of the longest-serving sheriff in New Jersey history, who died last night at the age of 83. (Editor/PolitickerNJ) http://www.politickernj.com/77506/union-county-sheriff-ralph-froehlich-has-died     Cryan serving as acting Union County sheriff, poised to run in November ...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed to restore balance in election financing

By JEFF BRINDLE Much has been written about the magnitude of campaign spending by independent special interest groups.  But until now, there has been little discussion about the impact. During the 2012 Presidential and Congressional contests,... Read More >

Contributors

The Perry-Paul Debate is Healthy for the GOP – and for America  The foreign policy debate in the media between prospective GOP Presidential candidates Texas Governor Rick Perry and... more »
(7-16-14) Casinos in Jersey City, Not Sports Betting - Just as the US. Supreme Court was saying no to sports betting in New Jersey, a former Reebok chief executive... more »
(Washington DC)-- Two recent votes on Capitol Hill suggest an overdue and radical departure from our nation's Draconian and costly War on Drugs.  It's a long-overdue discussion (and not just... more »
New Jersey 2014 Primary Day Recap (6/4/14) - By the numbers. Worth the read for those interested in GOTV targeting and ballot position logistics.... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

“Clearly President Putin has created the set of circumstances and has supplied the resources … to the rebels so that this tragedy could take place. For me, I think the West, including the [United States], has to have a far more significant response than we’ve seen to date.” - U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)

- Fox News Sunday

Poll

Do you think Gov. Chris Christie's RGA travels benefit New Jersey?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources