Ky. bill regulating sale of burial plots appears all but dead - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ky. bill regulating sale of burial plots appears all but dead

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's anything but “Rest in Peace” for some families when trying to bury their loved ones.

A bill that could prevent grave mistakes caused by some cemeteries appears to be all but dead.

House Bill 88 would help prevent burial plots from being sold more than once, however it appears the bill may be buried under concerns about cost.

Bill Dudley says when he went to bury his mother at Evergreen Cemetery, he found a grave mistake. “There was already someone buried in her plot that had passed away in the 50s, but there was no record of it,” Dudley told WDRB News.

Dudley filed suit and is also now the driving force behind HB 88. It requires that grave locations be placed on death certificates and that the Attorney General's office maintain a database of burial plots.

“Before a plot could be sold in Kentucky, they would have to check that database to make sure there's not already a body in that location,” Dudley said.

Dudley met in Frankfort with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Larry Clark (D-Louisville).

Afterward, Dudley was not happy. “Well, you can tell, I'm pretty fired up and I'm pretty upset,” he said.

There's a big obstacle: the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to create and maintain the database.

“When the Attorney General’s budget's been cut quite a few dollars, he doesn't have the extra money to do it,” said Clark.

Dudley believes cemeteries should pay a fee to cover the cost. “We feel the cemetery industry makes plenty enough profit in this state that they should be able to pick up this tab,” he said.

However, Clark says it's unlikely that would pass the General Assembly. “That's going to be pushed on to the consumer. He said, ‘Well you got to stop that.’ I said there's no way we can stop it,” Clark told WDRB News.

Clark says he hopes to find a compromise to save the bill.

Further complicating the issue, Dudley is running as a Republican to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Clark, who's a Democrat.

“The emphasis is not going to be as strong as it would if I were not running. Let's just put it that way,” said Dudley. “Politics is different than public policy. I'm trying to pass the bill for the family,” countered Clark.

The bottom line is that while the cemetery bill is not dead, the pulse is getting weaker as the session draws to a close.

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