Legislative Updates

Check back periodically for important legislative updates affecting you and your industry.

April 2018 - It’s that time of year again…filing business and individual tax returns. And if you are a “Cemetery Company” regulated by the Virginia Cemetery Board and have a calendar year fiscal year end, April 30th is the due date for annual perpetual care and preneed trust reports.
 The VCA was instrumental over the years in beefing up the Virginia perpetual care and preneed laws. One requirement was that Cemetery Companies employ an independent CPA to audit the trusts and make certain reports to the Board.  “Audit” is a term of art to CPA’s which entails (an expensive) in depth analysis of trust transactions. Some Cemetery Companies or their Trustees require an audit to ensure that they are operating within the law and proper accounting procedures. Some cemeteries either can’t afford an audit or elect a lesser standard of CPA review. But because the Virginia statutes contained the word “audit” some CPA’s refused to sign off on trust reports unless they were engaged to perform a full audit. The original reasons behind the audit requirement was that a CPA would not risk the loss of their license over one client, that protection does not require a full audit, and that a full “audit” was not intended.
 Accordingly, in 2016, the VCA supported a bill introduced by Senator Obenshain (R - Harrisonburg) seeking to ease the audit requirement. After consultation with CPA lobbyists, it was determined that the term “audit” should be replaced by “agreed upon procedures”, another CPA term of art. This summer at the VCA Annual Meeting, presenters will explain how to negotiate and arrive at agreed upon procedures with your CPA that could result in considerable cost savings, while remaining in full compliance with the Cemetery Board and Virginia Law.

December 2017 - I. 2017 General Assembly
You will recall that the cemetery perpetual care trust law was amended (effective 7-1-17) to permit a regulated cemetery to elect between an income method or total return method of trust accounting and distribution. The income method is the existing law permitting the cemetery to withdraw the income earned on the fund each year. “Income” was interpreted by the State Board to mean “ordinary income” (i.e., interest and dividends, but not realized capital gains). The total return method permits the cemetery to withdraw up to 5% of the value of the fund at the end of the prior year. The reason behind the change is to give cemeteries and its trustees greater latitude to grow the fund by removing the incentive to invest in lower return income-producing investments (e.g., CD’s).
II. State Cemetery Board
On August 23, 2017, the Cemetery Board revoked the Cemetery Company license of Monta Vista Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum in Galax, Virginia, and requested that the Virginia Attorney General’s Office seek the appointment of a Receiver for the cemetery. Robert Cratch, the owner and sole employee, is failing in his health and upkeep of the cemetery, and failed to file annual trust reports for 2014-2016. The 2018 meeting dates of the State Board are February 7 and September 5.
III. 2018 General Assembly
There are no known issues or bills pertaining to cemeteries expected to come up in the next (2018) session of the General Assembly.

March 2017 - The Virginia General Assembly has wrapped up its 2017 session (January 11th – February 25th). The VCA tracked one bill that SCI had introduced pertaining to perpetual care funds, HB 1505 (and companion bill SB 891). Current law permits a regulated cemetery to withdraw income form the fund if it is used solely and exclusively for the general care, maintenance, administration, and embellishment of the cemetery. The State Board has interpreted “income” as being ordinary income (interest and dividends) but not realized capital gains. Cemeteries desirous of withdrawing income from the perpetual care fund currently request or direct the trustee of the fund to make investments producing ordinary income. This type of investing removes the incentive to grow the principal of the fund. Accordingly, SCI’s bill proposed that trustees be permitted to elect a “total return” method of investing. This would permit the withdrawal of a certain percentage (e.g., up to 5%) of the market value of the fund. The incentive would then be for the trustee to invest in such a way to increase the size of the fund. This would achieve the goal on increasing the principal of the cemetery.

     A series of “stakeholder meetings” were hosted by SCI in which the VCA participated. Issues discussed included: the State Board’s ability to audit total return trust reports, safeguards to ensure growth of principal, a “braking system” to stop trust funds from decreasing in value over time, and authority for the State Board to restrict a cemetery from using the total return method.

     HB 1505/SB 891 have passed both the House of Delegates and Senate and have been signed by the Governor, and will become effective July 1, 2017. The details of this new “Total Return” method of investing, accounting and distribution will be presented and discussed at the VCA annual meeting on June 3, 2017. The next regular meeting of the State Board is Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 9:00am.

March 2016 - The Virginia General Assembly session began on Wednesday, January 14th and our lobbyists have been busy meeting with legislators and tracking legislation of interest to our industry. This year, we avoided any bills of specific interest to cemeteries. We know there are a couple topics being discussed and were surprised when neither of them surfaced as a bill.

While there were no legislative issues of interest this year, there is one regulatory issue that got a lot of attention. The new regulations governing the new Special Interment law (§54.1-2312.01) are working their way through the regulation review process. The VCA supported all but one of the regulations. The reg that we disagreed with requires that all advertising from a cemetery with a pet or pet/human section include a notice to that effect. Unfortunately, despite the VCA’s objection during the public comment period and at the hearings the Regulatory Board voted to move the regs forward as written. Legal counsel to the Board explained that the Board is constrained by the wording of the statute. It appears that the only way to get some relief from this reg will be to change the statute through the legislature.

In case there is any interest, there were several funeral home house-keeping bills at the beginning of the session, but they have been reduced down to the topic of electronic death certificates. They continue working to improve the process.

September 2015 - All of the Virginia General Assembly seats (Senate, House of Delegates) are up for election this November. If you need assistance determining which members in your area may be helpful on cemetery issues, contact the VCA office. The VCA Legislative Committee and its lobbyist can provide this information along with helpful ideas about political contributions and ways to develop relationships between your cemetery and your legislators.

                You will recall that a new law this year (effective July 1, 2015) regarding perpetual care and preneed trust reports replaced the term “audit” with “agreed upon procedures”. The intent of the change was to provide greater flexibility between cemetery companies and their CPA’s in determining the level of services (and costs) to provide the CPA report that must accompany the annual reports. YOU SHOULD BRING THIS CHANGE TO THE ATTENTION OF YOUR CPA’S AND DECIDE WHAT LEVEL OF SERVICES YOU WANT (AND CAN AFFORD). You should have received a Guidance Document from the state board on this subject.  

                The next meeting of the Virginia Cemetery Board is Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 9:00 am in Richmond.

                The day before, Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 10 am, is a Public Hearing on the regulations proposed by the state board on the new statute concerning “Special Interments of Human Remains and Pets of Deceased Humans”. There is also a Public Comment Period (9/7/15-11/6/15) to submit written comments on the proposed regs.

                Also please take note that there is another proposed state board regulation requiring that a cemetery’s contract “shall include an acknowledgement signed by the individual or individuals and the cemetery sales personnel stating the cemetery company provided the general price list and itemized statement of goods and services…prior to the execution of the contract”. This proposed reg is also working its way through the regulatory approval process. Keep this in mind for the next time you print new cemetery contract forms!

March 2015 - The main cemetery bill we worked this session is SB 1174 introduced by Senator Obenshain on behalf of a cemetery constituent. As originally filed it sought to change the word “audit” in the perpetual care trust report statute to “evaluate”. An “audit” is a term of art to CPA’s requiring certain set of rigorous (costly) analysis of the cemetery’s records. The original intent of the statute did not contemplate a formal audit. Rather, the CPA’s involvement with the annual report brought an extra layer of consumer protection the thinking being that a CPA would not risk his or her license over one client. The reports are already filed with the state board and its investigator reviews them for compliance with the statutory requirements.

When the bill came up for hearing in the Senate General Laws Committee, the CPA lobbyists objected to “evaluate” because of the uncertainty that CPA’s would have as to what they were to do. The bill was continued to the next week.

After a week of discussion about what was trying to be accomplished, the following wording was developed and ultimately enacted:

“The cemetery company shall (i) engage an independent certified public accountant to apply agreed-upon procedures as specified by the Board to in accordance with standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or any successor standard authorities, and (ii) provide to the Board the Independent certified public accountant’s report on the agree-upon procedures.” 

The Cemetery Board met on February 10, 2015. There were disciplinary and licensing cases, and the Board approved regulations for the pet/human burial sections approved by the General Assembly last year. Those regulations must go through the formal review process that may take several months. Also included in the reg review process is the reduction from 8 hours to 4 hours for the Compliance Agent training class. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for June 16, 2015 @ 9:00 am.

November 2014 - Stolen Vases and Scrap Dealers

The legislative branch of the VCA has been working hard towards a solution regarding the bronze vase thefts and the lack of any laws to hold scrap dealers accountable. Our first step was to look at changing the law to criminalize the purchase of stolen vases by scrap dealers.  Current law merely requires the dealers to obtain the seller’s identification, but pursuing vandals civilly or criminally is usually a waste of time.

We met with Del. Dave Albo (Chairman of the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee) and showed him the West Virginia law that criminalizes purchases by scrap dealers if a dealer “knows, or has reason to know” the items were stolen. Delegate Albo said: “…that’ll never happen in Virginia.  In Virginia, you can’t give someone a criminal record for something he ‘should have known’.”  Since he, in large part, would determine the success of our legislation his stance made this an obstacle.

At that point, we began to investigate whether making the purchase of stolen cemetery vases by a scrap dealer an act that could carry a fine and loss of license.  Unfortunately, our lobbyist, Aimee Perron Seibert, discovered that scrap dealers are not licensed in Virginia.

Next, it was suggested that rather than fighting the scrap dealers, we work with them.  Aimee made the initial contact with the lobbyist for the Scrap Metal Dealer’s Association here in Virginia and received a very positive response.  Fortunately, their association was already aware of the issues and were sensitive to it. Some of their members have even enacted a blanket policy that they do not purchase cemetery bronze.  Furthermore, at least one of their members has been working with the police to identify a thief in his area.  During the meeting it was suggested by their lobbyist that cemeterians contact the scrap dealers in their area and build relationships with them to facilitate the flow of information. Another suggestion was to establish a phone number (a hotline of sorts) that any scrap dealer in Virginia could call to establish a legitimate cemetery purchase of scrap bonze.  This would facilitate the prosecution of the thief and the return of the bronze to the proper cemetery if it did not clear the hot line.

The Legislative Committee will continue to work these suggestions and search for other solutions that will stop the sale of stolen bronze vases and facilitate their return to the proper cemetery.

May 2014 - The 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly included several bills pertaining to cemeteries as usual. The VCA Legislative Committee and Aimee Perron-Seibert participated in these bills as they worked their way through the session.

HB 997 – This bill was filed to correct an abandoned cemetery issue on county-owned land in Prince William County. The original language of this bill, however, was very broad and would have required cemeteries to initiate a court proceeding and obtain a court order for any and all disinterments. This was an unintentional overreach by the patron. The VCA was able to have the language re-written to narrow the scope. The final version of the bill provides a procedure for the removal and relocation of human remains on land acquired by counties, cities or towns.

HB 588 – The goal of this bill was to allow pet and pet/human burial sections within a licensed cemetery company (as opposed to starting a separate pet cemetery). This bill had several problematic issues when it was first introduced.  The VCA tried to push the bill into the 2015 Session to give additional time for study, but the bill’s patron was very eager to see something accomplished this year. The VCA was able to work with the patron of the bill to draft language that was acceptable to all of the participants. The bill, in its final form, allows a licensed cemetery company to open a separate, but clearly marked, section for the exclusive purpose of burying pets or pets and humans (in separate spaces). It is important to recognize that this law is under the portion of the statute that deals with cemetery companies, not pet cemeteries. Therefore, these cemetery burial sections, even though they are exclusively used for pet or pet/human burials, presumably require adherence to all aspects of the DPOR law (perpetual care, pre-need trusting, record keeping, etc.). You will recall that there is a separate “pet cemetery law” that applies to cemeteries that are exclusively pet cemeteries, Code of Va. §57-39.20 et seq.

The following two bills were introduced at the request of funeral home  associations, but referenced “burial” and “disposition of remains”.

SB 77 – This bill has two parts. First, it adds a new code section following the 2010 law on court proceedings “when next of kin disagree” that permits anyone over 18 years of age who (1) can provide positive ID of the deceased, and (2) is willing to pay, to make funeral arrangements. This new code section is located in the funeral home licensure statutes, and will need some interpretation as to whether it is applicable to cemeteries.

Second, SB 77 amends the “prerequisites for cremation” statute, and adds cemeteries to the list of persons and entities immune from civil liability for any act, decision or omission resulting from cremation.

SB 304 – This bill arose from an Attorney General’s Opinion that existing law providing procedures for disposition of unclaimed bodies was limited to Medical Examiner cases. The new law expands the ability of localities to dispose of unclaimed bodies, and adds “other person or institution” to those entitled to civil immunity related to the disposition of unclaimed bodies (i.e., cemeteries).

February 2014 - This year’s 2014 session of the General Assembly began January 8 for two months. As of this writing we are working two cemetery-related bills:

HB 588 (Patron: O’Quinn) would permit licensed cemetery companies to open separate burial sections for pets or pets and humans.

HB 997 (Patron: Anderson) would require cemeteries to get a permit and file a law suit prior to a disinterment.

Another bill, HB 729 (Patron: Lingamfelter) seeks to impose a sales tax on “services” performed by many industries, including cemetery and funeral services. There is widespread opposition to this bill. We are conferring with the patrons of these bills to get a better understanding of their issues, and will work to achieve a positive outcome for VCA members.

Likewise, we are in communication with the Virginia Funeral Directors Association legislative team. They are working several funeral service bills, including SB 304 (unclaimed bodies), SB 246 (prerequisites for cremation), and SB 77 (next of kin).

We will keep you updated on developments with these bills as the session progresses.

November 2013 -What is your opinion on whether licensed cemeteries should be permitted to establish burial sections for humans and their pets? If it is allowed, should the state cemetery board regulate the pet aspects? This issue was presented to the state board for consideration of its meeting on October 23. The state code definition of “interment” under the DPOR statutes refers to final disposal of human remains. The Board responded that it believed a legislative amendment to the state code was needed.

      The current appointees to the state Cemetery Board are:

  • David Gilliam, Hollywood Cemetery (Chairman)
  • Jane Garland, Woodlawn Memorial Park (Vice Chair)
  • Randy Minter, Bright View Cemetery
  • Mike Doherty, Fairfax Memorial Park
  • Kyle McDaniel, Fairfax (Local Government Official)
  • Pamela Jo Lundy, (citizen member)
  • VACANT (citizen member)

The Board’s next scheduled meetings are January 8, June 4, and October 22, 2014.

At its meeting on October 23, the Board adopted a proposed regulation that would require licensed cemeteries to include an acknowledgement on its sales contracts with customers that they received the cemetery’s General Price List. This was in response to HB 1563 from this year’s General Assembly which required the Board to develop a process whereby a consumer will be provided a GPL prior to the execution of a contract. This proposed regulation will go through the formal regulation process, including opportunities for public comment.

The Board also discussed several options regarding increased cemetery company license fees and sales personnel registration fees. Since the Board is charged with setting reasonable fees in accordance with State guidelines governing licensing fees (Callahan Act §54.1-113), there has been some fluctuation over the years. When the Board began, the fees were very high. Realizing they were too high, the Board dropped the fees down to their current low level. Now, the Board finds it necessary to increase the fees to continue to be in compliance with the State law. However, to keep from causing hardship to the sales personnel, the Board decided to adjust the fees putting the majority of the burden on the cemetery companies. The fees, as proposed, are $580 for cemetery company licenses and $60 for cemetery sales personnel registrations. More information will become available as these increased fees move toward final approval and implementation.

Next year’s session of the Virginia General Assembly begins January 8, 2014. The VCA is pleased with the representation of its lobbyist, Aimee Perron Seibert of the Hillbridge Group. Other than the pet issue mentioned above, the VCA is not aware of any other proposed cemetery legislation. However, the VCA will actively monitor the bills introduced in the session, and provide regular reports to VCA members.

May 2013 - The VCA participated in following bills in the 2013 Session of the General Assembly:

Resale Law – SB 1147 expanded the recently enacted “resale” law to remove from the 4 per year limitation resales of interment rights by churches to members of their congregations or an immediate family member of such member. In other words, this continues the existing practice of cemetery lot sales to church groups who sell to their members. Effective July 1, 2013.

Tree Canopy – HB 1547 sets by state law a 10% tree canopy requirement for cemeteries. Currently, some localities are applying other laws (e.g., public facilities manual) to impose onerous (40%) tree canopy requirements. Effective July 1, 2013.

GPL – HB 1563 was amended to require the Cemetery Board (before 6-30-2014) to “consider current consumer protection provisions and develop a process whereby a consumer will be provided a general price list and itemized statement of charges for burial services provided by a cemetery prior to the execution of a contract for such services”. The original bill would have changed the language of the general price list requirements: (1) from shall be “offered” to shall be “provided”, and (2) to obtain a “written acknowledgement of receipt” from the individuals inquiring in person about burial arrangements or prices of property or services.

The VCA also participated in amendments to the state-wide building code that are pro-cemetery:

Retaining Walls – increased to 3’ without a permit

Fences – no restriction unless masonry

Plumbing Fixtures – new chapel mausoleums able to use existing public toilets on cemetery property

Cemetery Buildings and Structures – exemption from application if under 1,500 sq. ft.

The next Cemetery Board meeting is June 5 at the DPOR offices in Richmond.

January 2013 - The 2013 session of the General Assembly is underway. There are three main cemetery bills that we are following at this time:

  • Resale Law – SB 1147 would expand the recently enacted “resale” law to remove from the 4 per year limitation resales of interment rights by churches to members of their congregations or an immediate family member of such member. In other words, this would continue the existing practice of cemetery lot sales to church groups who sell to their members.
  • Tree Canopy – HB 1547 would set by state law a 10% tree canopy requirement for cemeteries. Currently, some localities are applying other laws (e.g., public facilities manual) to impose onerous (40%) tree canopy requirements.
  • GPL – HB 1563 would change the language of the general price list requirements: (1) from shall be “offered” to shall be “provided”, and (2) to obtain a “written acknowledgement of receipt” from the individuals inquiring in person about burial arrangements or prices of property or services.

The VCA’s Legislative Committee and Lobbyist are monitoring the status of these bills, and are in communication with the Virginia Funeral Directors Association regarding funeral bills they are working.

July 2012 - At the annual meeting at the Homestead the VCA’s new lobbyist, Aimee Perron Seibert, detailed the results of four bills we worked on during the past session of the General Assembly:  
SB 638 amending §54.1-2322 (effective 7-1-12) to clarify that no portion of the perpetual care trust fund shall be used to pay debts or taxes of the cemetery operator, and that the trust is a separate legal entity (from the cemetery operator).
HB 316/SB 430 adding §15.2-2288.5 (effective 1-1-13) concerning cemetery uses and approvals. Further meetings to be held to seek relief for cemeteries from zoning requirements.
SB 8 amending §§2.2-713 and 37.2-1020 (effective 7-1-12) to give guardians the power to make financial arrangements after the death of an incapacitated adult.
HB 306 amending §57-39.1:1 (effective 7-1-12) to allow cemeteries seeking to recover burial sites as “abandoned” after 50 years of nonuse to skip certified mailing if the last known address of the lot owner is not known, and proceed to newspaper publication of the notice.
A lively discussion took place among the attendees during Cemetery Board Investigator Herb Nichols’ presentation concerning this 50-year statute. He posed a hypothetical question: If 4 burial spaces were purchased is a single contract more than 50 years ago, and one burial has taken place, does that mean the remaining 3 spaces have been “used” so as to re-start the 50-year clock at the date of the burial? The result of the discussion was that the statute is unclear on the point. However, it was agreed that the intent of the law was not to take away people’s rights unnecessarily, but rather to prevent limited burial spaces (i.e. in almost full cemeteries) from going unused.
Herb Nichols also pointed out that the Cemetery Board is studying the new “resale” law (§54.1-2312.1) to interpret the statute on two points: whether (1) the limitation of 4 resale “transactions” per year covers more than one grave space, and (2) the subsections on transfer forms, transfer fees, etc. apply to all resellers or just funeral directors (who are not limited by the 4 per year but are limited to one at a time on an at need basis).
There was a review of two 2011 laws that may apply to cemeteries:

  • 54.1-2825 “Designee” form whereby the person designated under a validly executed and timely presented designee form may have priority over next of kin for funeral and burial arrangements.
  • 54.1-2807.01 specification of the factors for a circuit court to consider when next of kin disagree over arrangements for a decedent’s funeral or the disposition of his remains.

Finally, Aimee encouraged us to meet with our local legislators to establish a relationship. This is the most helpful asset to a lobbyist…we cannot expect them to handle everything that comes up in Richmond!

April 2012 -The VCA Legislative Committee worked on four bills affecting cemeteries this year in the 2012 General Assembly session. The following is a recap of those bills. A detailed discussion will take place at the VCA annual meeting this June at The Homestead. At that time the VCA’s new lobbyist, Aimee Perron Seibert of the Hillbridge Group, will be present to discuss the 2012 session.

  • HB 316/SB 430 (ZONING) PASSED
    • Specifies uses included with the approval of a cemetery
    • Need for additional approvals not required
    • No exemption “from any applicable zoning regulation”
  • SB 638 (PC TRUST) PASSED
    • No portion of PC Trust Fund shall be used to pay any personal obligation or debt of any officer or owner of the cemetery, or tax obligation of the cemetery
    • Does not limit the Trustee from paying normal expenses and taxes of the Trust
    • The Trust is a separate legal entity (from the cemetery)
  • HB 306 (RCOVERY OF ABANDONED INTERMENT RIGHTS) PASSED
    • Amends the “50-year” law to allow cemeteries to skip certified mail notice to last known address of lot owner (if not known), and proceed directly to newspaper publication of notice.
  • SB 8 (GUARDIANS) PASSED
    • Legal Guardians (for adults) have authority to make funeral interment and memorialization arrangement under certain circumstances.
    • Immunity from civil liability when the provisions of the statute are met, and absent bad faith or malicious intent
    • “Cemetery, cemetery operator” added to the list of persons immune from civil liability
  • Combining Cemetery/Funeral Boards NOT PASSED

September 2011 - Code of VA §54.1-2312.1 became effective July 1, 2011, and creates some new restrictions and procedures regarding “resales” of interment rights.  The new law: -defines “resale” as:
-sale of interment right in a cemetery regulated by the Cemetery Board
-to a person other than the cemetery company in which the right exists
-does not include transfer upon the death of the owner
-exempts up to 4 resale transactions per calendar year from restrictions
-requires for resales of more than 4 transactions per year that:
-the resale be at-need
-the seller be licensed by the cemetery board or funeral board
-no more than one interment right is transferred by the transaction
-any merchandise, personal property, or service purchased in the original  preneed trans
- action also be transferred in the resale-the resale be approved by the cemetery company that owns the cemetery where the inter- ment right exists
Cemetery company approval requires a written transfer form, payment of a reasonable cemetery transfer fee, copy of the bill of sale and conformance with the cemetery’s current rules and regulations. Certain minimum requirements are set by the new law for the transfer form which can be viewed at http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+54.1-2312.1

July 2011 - New law affecting our transfer process. 

May 2011 - HB 2018, introduced this year by Del. Alexander, a funeral director/legislator, becomes effective July 1, 2011, and creates some new restrictions and procedures regarding “resales” of interment rights.  The new law:-defines “resale” as:
-sale of interment right in a cemetery regulated by the Cemetery Board
-to a person other than the cemetery company in which the right exists
-does not include transfer upon the death of the owner
-exempts up to 4 resale transactions per calendar year from restrictions
-requires for resales of more than 4 transactions per year that:
-the resale be at-need -the seller be licensed by the cemetery board or funeral board -no more than one interment right is transferred by the transaction
-any merchandise, personal property, or service purchased in the original  preneed transaction also be transferred in the resale
-the resale be approved by the cemetery company that owns the cemetery where the interment right exists Cemetery company approval requires a written transfer form, payment of a reasonable cemetery transfer fee, copy of the bill of sale and conformance with the cemetery’s current rules and regulations.

December 2010 - Another session of the General Assembly fast approaches.  This is a so-called “Short Session” that will meet in January and February 2011. There is one carryover bill from last year that was introduced by Delegate Alexander, a legislator and funeral director from Norfolk.  His bill seeks to exempt from regulation any resale of grave sites.  While no one has an issue with routine resale's by individuals, the larger issue involves large scale purchases in bulk and subsequent resale's.  Some of the issues involved include ensuring that perpetual care deposits are made, and the possible loss of consumer protections such as representations that might be made (e.g., as to what, if any, further costs there may be at the time of burial) by non-cemetery resellers. The VCA Board of Directors, Legislative Committee and Lobbyist Lane Kneedler have been meeting with Delegate Alexander seeking a resolution of the issues raised by this bill. Surely additional bills will be intruded this session, and the VCA will keep an eye on them to cemetery interests.

February 2010 - HB 1385- This bill originally started out as HB 598 (Delegate Massie) and would have exempted the resale of graves from regulation. The VCA was against this bill. Based on our objections, Delegate Massie withdrew the bill. However, the real force behind the bill, Delegate Alexander (a funeral director from Tidewater) refiled it himself as HB 1385. The refilled bill also sought to repeal the statute the VCA put in some years ago permitting the recovery of unused graves as "abandoned" after 50 years. HB 1385 came up today before a subcommittee of the House Health Welfare & Institutions Committee. Based on the VCA's opposition, Delegate Alexander requested that the bill be "carried over" (to next year) for further discussions.

February 2010 - HB 1079- This bill would have exempted all record keeping requirements for cemeteries for family plots. The VCA was against this bill. After discussion with the patron and cemetery involved, the bill was withdrawn. Many thanks to the following VCA members for traveling to Richmond to support us at the General Assembly: Steve Gillespie (VCA President), Mike Doherty, Jimmy Stuart, David Gilliam, Caroline Smyth, Walt Melvin, Joe Morris.