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Idaho bill addressing what mortuaries can do with unclaimed ashes advances to Senate after House vote

Rep. Stephanie Mickelsen, R-Idaho Falls, is sponsoring a bill that addresses what mortuaries can do with unclaimed ashes. The photo on the right is an urn that’s been sitting at Coltrin Mortuary in Idaho Falls for several years. Watch the House and Senate hearings for this bill in the video above. | Photo on left courtesy Stephanie Mickelsen, photo on right courtesy Kelby Dayley
IDAHO FALLS – A bill that defines what mortuaries can do with unclaimed ashes is advancing to the Senate floor.
HB 502, which allows funeral homes to respectfully dispose of unclaimed ashes within a year after the cremation, passed without any opposition in the House on Feb. 26.
Rep. Stephanie Mickelsen, R-Idaho Falls, who represents most of Bonneville County in District 32, is the bill’s only sponsor. In January, she explained this issue hasn’t been clearly defined in state statute up to this point.
RELATED | Idaho lawmaker introducing bill addressing what mortuaries can do with unclaimed ashes
Kelby Dayley, funeral director at Coltrin Mortuary in Idaho Falls, brought this to her attention. The crematory has 10 urns with unclaimed ashes currently in storage. The oldest one dates back to 2013.
Idaho code 31-2802 specifies how the burial or cremation of unclaimed bodies in a coroner’s custody should be handled, but there is no statute explaining how it works for mortuaries.
As a result, funeral homes have the burden of storing them indefinitely and it makes them liable to potential lawsuits if they dispose of them without permission from the family.
This bill would give them authority to dispose of ashes that remain unclaimed a year after the cremation. If it becomes law, funeral home directors will be required to keep a record of the location and date of the disposal for at least 10 years.
HB 502 was given a do pass recommendation in the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee on Tuesday. It will be up for vote in the Senate soon.
The post Idaho bill addressing what mortuaries can do with unclaimed ashes advances to Senate after House vote appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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