by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
According to a recent story by Carolina Journal’s Lindsay Marchello:
A bill making it easier for someone to become a licensed funeral director has cleared the Senate… House Bill 554, or the Funeral Practice Licensure Technical Corrections bill, unanimously passed the House on April 25, but has changed since. The original bill makes technical and clarifying changes to funeral service license exam requirements, outlines rules for disposing of pacemakers, and requires crematory licenses to comply with federal regulations, among other things.
But, as the bill made its way through the Senate, some lawmakers added an amendment allowing for the provisional license, which has been controversial.
The provisional funeral director’s license requires (1) a $500 fee, (2) a person have either an undergraduate degree in any field, an associate of applied science degree in any field, or a diploma in funeral directing from a board-approved curriculum at an accredited college of mortuary science, (3) a person be of good moral character and at least 18 years old, and (4) a person is eligible for or already has a certified resident traineeship, or has at least five years of professional experience under the supervision of a licensed funeral director. The bill has been controversial, Marchello explains:
While supporters of the bill have argued it’s necessary to help out-of-state licensees work legally in North Carolina, industry groups, such as the N.C. Funeral Directors Association and the N.C. Board of Funeral Services, oppose the measure. The groups say it lowers the standards for funeral directing and could potentially harm consumers.
Marchello reports that Sen. Andy Wells, R-Catawba, introduced an amendment to the bill in hopes of pacifying industry insiders:
Wells’ amendment requires provisional licensees to have the same supervision as a resident trainee. The amendment also prohibits a provisional licensee from acting as a funeral director, which means they can’t serve as a location manager or sell pre-need contracts.
According to Sen. Wells:
“Civilization has been here for 10,000 years. For 9,900 of those years we managed to bury people without a North Carolina funeral director license.”