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FCA recognizes that the dissemination of individual experiences, the reporting of public information, and linking to other sites can help further our mission of educating the public on their funeral rights and options. However, FCA's limited resources and the nature of the Internet make it impossible to verify the content of personal experiences that are supplied by others or to verify the content of linked sites. FCA accepts no responsibility for these. Comments on the contents of personal reports and linked websites should be directed to the author(s).



American Bar Association-funeral regulatory capture

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The journal of the American Bar Association wrote about "regulatory capture" in the funeral industry. That's when the regulated businesspeople themselves gain control over the law regulating them (and we all know what happens then). They interviewed FCA's Josh Slocum for the brief article. 

 

Morbid Anatomy on display in Brooklyn

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You can get your full of the curious and the macabre at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. Founder Joanna Ebenstein notes in a Daily Beast interview:

 “You realize on a visceral level that this [having dead bodies in the parlor] is not a one-off thing, this is an activity people used to do all the time that now seems bizarre to us,” she says. “And it was only 100 years ago, so what has changed about us as a culture that this is unacceptable?”

Read the full story here.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 July 2014 16:24 )
 

Pennsylvania funeral directors appeal to US Supreme Court

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A press release from the Institute for Justice. The case is brought by funeral directors in Pennsylvania who challenged the state's outdated laws restricting funeral home ownership, barring the serving of food in funeral homes, and other rules that have kept out competition while protecting "legacy" funeral homes. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2014
CONTACT: Shira Rawlinson, (703) 682-9320 ext. 229
 
Does the U.S. Constitution Require Courts to Enforce Obsolete Laws that Lack Any Justification Today?
 
Institute for Justice asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear ‘changed circumstances’ case
 
Arlington, Va.—Today, the Institute for Justice and a group of Pennsylvania funeral directors asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear Heffner v. Murphy, a case with implications for every American. The question presented to the High Court is simple: When the government takes away your liberty today, does it need reasons that are valid today or is it enough that the law was valid when passed long ago, no matter how much the facts of the world may have changed?
 
In Heffner, a fed-up coalition of Pennsylvania funeral entrepreneurs sued the state to overturn obsolete laws dating to the early 1950s that prevent them from providing the best service and lowest prices to their customers. The federal trial court ruled that it was no longer constitutional for Pennsylvania to enforce these archaic laws due to indisputable advances in how the funeral industry now works. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the absence of a contemporary justification for a law was not “a constitutional flaw.” Instead, the appellate court ruled that all that matters is whether the law was “rational” when passed in 1952.
 
Heffner v. Murphy is important to every American because the constitutional rule at issue—called “rational-basis review”—determines the constitutionality of the overwhelming majority of laws, from occupational licensing to criminal statutes to environmental law to zoning and just about everything in between. Rational-basis review requires the government to have, at minimum, a rational reason for depriving someone of liberty.
 
Last Updated ( Monday, 21 July 2014 12:56 ) Read more...
 

FCA Swag!

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Our popular and stylishly grim coffee mug is yours for $15, and sales support our work!mug web readymug web ready

 

New from the FTC-en Espanol

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The Federal Trade Commission has revised two extremely helpful documents for funeral consumers. Even better, they're available in Spanish, too. Check out El último adiós and Compra de servicios fúnebresFCA Affiliates—Note that you can order paper versions of these in bulk, free, from the FTC. You can also (and should) host these new pamphlets directly on your site. 

FTC BannerFTC Banner

 

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has revised two brochures to help consumers make funeral choices, either in advance or at a time of need.

Paying Final Respects summarizes consumer rights under the FTC’s Funeral Rule, which helps to ensure that people get information so they can compare prices among funeral homes. For example, consumers have a right to buy only the funeral goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming) they want, and to get a written, itemized price list when they visit a funeral home.

Shopping for Funeral Services provides a detailed guide to various kinds of funeral goods and services, includes a pricing checklist, glossary, and contact information for national organizations.

You can order the publications at ftc.gov/bulkorder. The FTC has related information online in a series of articles that explain consumer rights, describe types of funeral products and services, and help shoppers compare providers. The FTC has compliance information for people in the funeral industry at business.ftc.gov/funerals.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 07 July 2014 13:38 )
 


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