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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1540         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1098

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

Michael F. Rush

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight .

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Michael F. Rush

Norfolk and Suffolk

Edward F. Coppinger

10th Suffolk

Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk

Christopher G. Fallon

33rd Middlesex


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1540        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1098

By Mr. Rush, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1098) of Michael F. Rush, Edward F. Coppinger, Martin J. Walsh and Christopher G. Fallon for legislation to establish the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight.  Public Health. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act establishing the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight .
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1.  Chapter 114 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2A the following section:-

              Section 2B. (a) There is hereby established within the executive office of health and human services a cemeteries oversight board, to be known as the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight.  The board shall consist of six members: the chair who shall be the commissioner of public health or a designee, provided that the designee shall be a full-time employees of the office at all times while so designated; the undersecretary of consumer affairs or a designee; a full-time assistant attorney general in the business and labor bureau designated by the attorney general; a full-time employee of the secretary of the commonwealth in the corporations division designated by the secretary of state, a member of the Massachusetts Cemetery Association, Inc. who shall be appointed by the governor; a member of the Massachusetts Municipal Association who has knowledge of cemetery operations who shall be appointed by the governor.  Members of the board shall be appointed for a period of three years and upon the expiration of a term of an appointive member, a successor shall be appointed in like manner for a term of three years.  Any vacancy on the board shall be appointed in like manner and shall remain on the board until the term has expired.   Members of the commission shall receive no compensation but shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the board.

              The Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight shall perform the following duties:  (i) promulgate rules and regulations for the transaction of its business and the betterment and promotion of the standards of service and practice to be followed in the profession of cemetery operations; (ii) adopt, amend, rescind rules in accordance of this section to carry out governing the registration of cemeteries; (iii) prescribe the form and content of all applications to be used for registration and renewal registration pursuant to this section; (iv) review applications for registration and issue registration certificates to cemeteries that meet qualifications for registration pursuant to section 2; (v) collect all fees related to the registration and renewal of registration certificates for cemeteries; (vi) maintain a written record of each ceremony registered with the division, which shall include all documentation pursuant to section 2; (vii) investigate any and all cemetery operations and complaints of violations of the provisions governing cemeteries, and, if necessary bring such violations to the notice of the proper officers; (viii) employ inspectors who shall investigate and report to the board the results of their investigations.  The record shall be available for inspection by the public and copies shall be made available pursuant to the executive office of health and human services rules and regulations.  

              (b) No governing body, as defined by section 1 of chapter 114 of the General Laws shall own, operate, or maintain a cemetery unless the cemetery is registered pursuant to this section.

              Any governing body, as defined by section1 of chapter 114 of the General Laws shall apply to the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight to register the cemetery on forms prescribed by the division.  With this application, the applicant shall submit documentation required under this section with a registration fee of one hundred dollars per cemetery, provided further that any governing body of a national veterans cemetery, state veterans cemetery, or municipal cemetery shall be exempt from any registration or renewal fee.  

              Upon receipt of the completed application form, documentation, and required registration fee, the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight shall issue a certificate of registration to the applicant. The applicant shall display the certificate on the premises of the cemetery for which the registration was obtained.  The certificate shall be kept on file and be available for public inspection at the office of the governing body. 

              Except as otherwise provided by the Board, each registration issued pursuant to this section shall expire annually from the date of initial registration.  The renewal fee shall be the same as the initial registration fees prescribed in this section.  Failure to re-new registration shall be subject to a fine that is not less than ten dollars per day. 

              The board of directors or board of trustees of any private, non-profit cemetery shall hold an annual association meeting for the purposes of the election of directors and the transaction of other business on a date fixed by or under the by-laws of the association.  The board of directors or the board of trustees shall accept an annual financial statement that contains an accounting of association income and expenses for the preceding fiscal year and an accounting of association assets.

              The governing body, as defined by section 1 of chapter 114 of the General Laws, of each cemetery shall be required to register under this section shall provide the Massachusetts Cemeteries Board of Oversight, on a form prescribed by the board; (i) ) the name of the cemetery, the street address, city or town, and county where the cemetery is located, and the mailing address if different from the street address; (ii) a list of the names and addresses of the owners (s), officers, directors, trustees and the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery; (iii) compensation of officers, directors, trustees, the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery, and independent contractors; (iv) a copy of an annual report for the previous year of all assets, investments, income, and expenses; (v) disclosure of the minutes of the annual meeting; (vi) a financial statement as to the condition of the perpetual care fund; (vii) a copy of the rules, regulations and by-laws; (viii) any other benefits offered to any officer, director, trustee or person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery; (ix) any other pertinent information relative to cemetery operations as deemed appropriate by the board consistent with the laws of the commonwealth.

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