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An Afternoon with the FTC

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The Federal Trade Commission held a conference in April to teach funeral homes how to comply with the Funeral Rule. The highlight? They tried to eject a Funeral Consumers Alliance board member from this public meeting! Read all about it [LINK TO watchdogsleeps.pdf]  Click [LINK TO ftcenforcementhistory.pdf] for a brief history of the FTC's "regulation-light" approach.
 

Mississippi Beefs Up Preneed

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While it's not enough to truly protect consumers from problems with prepaid funerals, Mississippi's House Bill 1046 is a good first step. The bill was signed into law, and it requires funeral homes to deposit 85 percent of consumers' prepaid funeral money into a trust account --- up from 50 percent, which was the lowest requirement in the country.

 

You Can't Do That in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Assembly Bill 984 would have give consumers the right to determine how their bodies will be disposed of after death, and the right to name an agent to make sure their wishes are carried out. For more information. But as of May, 2006, the bill had never made it out of committee.

 

Kentucky Undertakers Try to Shut Down Competition

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Note: the story below gives an overview. Readers who want details on the laws discussed should see Funeral Consumers Alliance's opposition letter sent to Kentucky legislators, and our analysis of the bill .


Frankfort, Kentucky, January, 2006 --- Faced with stiff competition from innovative, lower-cost funeral services that offer low prices by economizing on overhead, entrenched "traditional" Kentucky funeral homes are trying to abuse the law to protect their pocketbooks. House Bill 232, which looks to have been written by the state funeral directors' Board (made up of four funeral directors and one "public" representative, whose wife works part-time at a funeral home!) and the the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky, would:
  • Take away Kentucky citizens' rights to care for their own dead by giving the state funeral board control over every aspect of funerals, even private family or religious services
  • Take away the right of religious congregations to care for their members in a traditional way without the interference of the commercial funeral industry
  • Outlaw innovative, lower-cost funeral establishments that keep prices moderate by economizing on overhead
  • Give established, high-overhead funeral homes a virtual monopoly on the funeral business
  • Insulate funeral homes from competition, thereby keeping prices high and consumers captive
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 11:05 ) Read more...
 

Oh, What a Difference A Suffix Makes

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Wisconsin Funeral Trade Groups Back Bill to Restrict Low-cost Competition

UPDATE 10/18/05 — Rep. Phil Montgomery's office announced last week that AB 485 was "dead," but Rep. Karl Van Roy, a co-sponsor and the chairman of the small business committee, brought the bill to a vote in amended form on October 17, 2005. The amended bill took out two of the most objectionable provisions — the ban on "strip-mall" funeral homes and the requirement to provide seating for 50 at all funeral homes — but still prohibits medical institutions, churches, synagogues, or "creed"- based groups from operating a funeral home. It will be interesting to see if this stands constitutional muster.

  • protection - n. supervision or support of one that is smaller or weaker
  • protectionism - n. . . . government economic protection for domestic producers through restrictions on foreign competitors
    Attachments:
    Download this file (ab485.pdf)ab485.pdf[AB 485]30 Kbm/j/Y
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 04 December 2007 16:28 ) Read more...
 


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