MFDA Legislative Update - March 17, 2017
Every session is unique and 2017 is no different. The primary focus of the session is crafting the state's budget for the next two years. Another theme throughout the first eleven weeks has been the rising costs of health insurance, with lawmakers first passing a premium rebate and now working towards greater overall market reform. There are many other issues under consideration, with over 4600 bills introduced so far, some of which are of specific interest to the funeral industry.
Bills moving forward of interest to MFDA members
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and Physician Assistant signature authority
- HF2177 (Rep. Zerwas, Elk River) & SF1844 (Sen. Kiffmeyer, Big Lake)
- This bill would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants to provide cause of death information within MR&C. This would alleviate some of the pressure on funeral directors to track down physicians to provide the cause of death. The bill is currently awaiting votes on the House and Senate floors.
- Rental casket sales tax exemption
- HF893 (Rep. Davids, Preston) & SF726 (Sen. Chamberlain, Lino Lakes)
- This provision is part of Governor Dayton's tax proposal to the legislature. It extends the sales tax exemption to rental caskets, burial vaults, and alternative containers used for transportation or viewing. We have spoken with both Tax Committee Chairs and expressed MFDA support for the provision's inclusion in the forthcoming Omnibus Tax bills.
- Elimination of the State Veterans Cemetery Burial fee for spouses and dependents
- HF1597 (Rep. Howe, Rockville) & SF1244 (Sen. Fischbach, Paynesville)
- This bill eliminates the State Veterans Cemetery Burial fee ($745) for spouses and dependents of eligible veterans. The bill is currently moving through the committee process.
Bills not currently moving
- MFDA Cremator Operator certification bill
- HF1025 (Rep. Kiel, Crookston) & SF1665 (Sen. Weber, Luverne)
- Our proposal falls under the category of new Certification/Licensure or Scope of Practice, an area that lawmakers will be focusing on in 2018.
- Department of Health Policy bill
- HF1839 (Rep. Schomacker, Luverne) & no senate companion
- Similar to MFDA, the Department proposed a Cremator Operator certification, as well as other policy provisions ranging from capturing additional information for alkaline hydrolysis to a new cremation form.
Other items of interest
- Department of Human Services
- The Department of Human Services recently released updated MA recovery guidelines. The release outlines the use of reasonable and unreasonable funeral expenses. These guidelines do not apply to funerals that are prepaid, unless the prepaid funeral is underfunded and the estate has to make up the difference. We've met with DHS and they understand MFDA members have some concerns, particularly with the uniform application of the guidelines throughout Minnesota counties. DHS is willing to review any suggestions or changes MFDA puts forward.
- Anne Kukowski has recently left the Mortuary Science Section at the Department. Currently, Catherine Lloyd is the supervisor and can be reached by phone at 651-201-3829.
- The Mortuary Science Ad Hoc Advisory Committee continues to meet and is always taking suggestions for discussion topics. If there is a topic you'd like the committee to consider, you can email email@example.com.
As MFDA's lobbyists, we're your eyes and ears at the capitol every day. We will continue to keep you updated on any developments impacting MFDA and its members. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Joe Sellwood Judy Cook
Please click here to view the entire 2015 Legislative Updates for the Minnesota Mortuary Science Industry document.