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2014 NFDA Public Policy Positions

For additional information about NFDA's public policy positions, contact a member of the Advocacy Division staff:


Primary Issues

Initiate or Support Federal Regulation of All For-Profit Sellers of Funeral and/or Final Disposition Goods or Services Not Now Covered by the Funeral Rule: That NFDA work with Congress and/or the FTC to adopt legislation or rules to regulate any for-profit entity or individual that sells or offers to sell funeral and/or final disposition goods and/or services to the public and who are not now covered by the Funeral Rule.

Tax Reform: That NFDA actively monitor this issue and engage the legislative process when necessary to insure that the interests of funeral service and small business are positively addressed.

Preserve the Current Federal Estate Tax: That NFDA strongly support preserving the current federal estate tax exclusion and rate and oppose any efforts to reduce it.

Preserve SSI-Medicaid Funeral Trust Exclusions: That NFDA strongly support retention of the current SSI/Medicaid exclusion for funds set aside for funeral and burial expenses and strongly oppose any effort or initiative to repeal or otherwise limit this exclusion.

Affordable Health Insurance for Small Business: That NFDA strongly supports legislative and regulatory initiatives that improve access to affordable health insurance for small business.

Federal Mass Fatality Plan: That NFDA continues its active involvement with all relevant federal or state departments, agencies and private organizations to insure that the role of funeral service in any natural or man-made mass fatality disaster is clearly defined and adequately reflected in their policies and continue to advocate for a federal mass fatality plan

Environmental Health and Safety: That NFDA enhance its efforts to address the environmental, health and safety of funeral directors and to educate the public on the safety of the embalming process, embalming chemicals, preparation room, alkaline hydrolysis, and crematory equipment, and wastes discharged by funeral homes and crematories. To that end, NFDA will:

Encourage the development of environmentally and personally safe embalming chemicals, funeral service products, and preparation room equipment

Undertake proactive communications initiatives

Assist funeral directors with environmental and safety compliance issues, establishing green funeral homes, and green end of life practices

Promote laws and practices consistent with these objectives.

 

Funeral Rule Related Issues

Regulation of Preneed Funeral Contracts: That NFDA work with the Congress, federal and state regulatory agencies, state funeral director associations, consumer groups, and other interested parties to enact appropriate additional consumer protection provisions to state preneed laws and regulations as contained in our Preneed Guidelines. In addition, NFDA stands ready and willing to participate in the formulation of such policies and to work with Congress, the Federal Trade Commission or any other federal agency and consumer groups to achieve an equitable solution for everyone at either the federal and/or state levels.

Variable Service Fee: Continue to advocate and encourage the FTC to amend the Funeral Rule and replace the static Basic Services Fee with a variable Basic Service Fee that funeral homes could set depending upon the type of funeral and disposition selected by the consumer.

Petition FTC for Changes in Current Funeral Rule: That NFDA renew its petition asking the FTC to clarify the vague and overly broad price list distribution requirements and to institute other operational modifications to the Funeral Rule that reflect current marketplace or business practices.

 

New Issue

Improve and Expedite Funeral Rule State Exemption Request Process: Authorize NFDA to work with the FTC to encourage them to improve the state exemption process and expedite state requests for an exemption from the Funeral Rule. If necessary, authorize NFDA to work with Congress to initiate legislation to require the FTC to accomplish this requirement.

 

Secondary Issues

Non-Profit Entering Funeral Service: It is recommended that NFDA continue to monitor and research the issue of whether and the extent to which any 501(c) (3) organization may participate in the funeral service business on either a tax-exempt or for-profit basis. If the facts and circumstances warrant, NFDA will raise the appropriate legal, ethical, tax and public policy concerns with Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the Treasury Department and either directly or through our state funeral service associations with appropriate state and local officials.

OSHA Reform: That NFDA continue to support legislation, regulations and policies that reshape OSHA into an agency that listens to and works with business to craft industry-specific, performance-based, safety and health workplace practices that are based on commonsense and practical reality rather than academic or theoretical concepts or punitive regulations or enforcement policies.

Military Funeral Honors: That NFDA continue to work with Congress, the Department of Defense, individual Service Branches, various veterans service organizations and other interested parties to improve the military honors program and insure that implementing policies regarding the providing of military honors for qualified veterans reflect congressional intent and continue to address our specific concerns.

Small Business: That NFDA initiate, support and/or advocate for legislation, rules and regulations that recognize the unique needs of small and family-owned businesses and create and foster an economic environment that allows them to grow and prosper and to oppose those that thwart that objective.

Regulatory Reform: That NFDA support any and all legislation or policies that would reform the federal regulatory process and reduce the costly, burdensome, unnecessary and redundant regulatory burden on funeral homes.

International Shipping Standards: That NFDA establish or support uniform international shipping standards for human remains.

Infectious Disease Inoculation: Funeral service personnel should be included as a priority group eligible for voluntary inoculation against any and all infectious/contagious diseases or biologic agents.

Emergency Reciprocal Licensing: That NFDA and its state associations promote federal, state and local government policies that provide emergency reciprocity to any active licensed funeral director and/or embalmer in the event of a mass disaster situation.

Veterans Funeral and Burial Benefits: That NFDA support any and all legislation that would enhance, improve and increase the funeral and burial benefits for veterans and their families.

Establish State-Based Written Price Disclosures for Cemeteries, Crematories and Other Sellers: In lieu of any federal regulations, support the adoption of state-based written price disclosures for all sellers of cemetery, alkaline hydrolysis and/or crematory goods or services.

Organ and Tissue Recovery: The funeral director will respect the family's wishes to donate and NFDA will encourage its members to support the concept of donation. It is recommended that NFDA continue to nurture relationships with all relevant groups, organizations, Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to adopt and implement national, state and local policies for: appropriate recovery procedures; appropriate reimbursement; on-site recovery and referrals; proper and ethical marketing and promotion by procurement organizations; and, timely notification and disclosure of relevant information to all parties involved in the authorization, procurement and recovery process.

Support Efforts to Protect, Modernize, and Improve Subchapter S Corporation laws and Regulations: That NFDA support efforts to protect, modernize and improve S Corporation laws and regulations.

Federal Cargo Screening Program for Human Remains: That NFDA will work with TSA, other relevant federal agencies, the airlines, and related organizations to develop an appropriate and acceptable program for cargo screening of human remains as well as explore potential alternative shipping options.

State Regulation of Alkaline Hydrolysis: That NFDA strongly support state regulation of alkaline hydrolysis as a means of final disposition separate and apart from cremation.

Codify SSI Irrevocable Funeral Trust Exclusion: That NFDA initiate federal legislation to codify the current SSA policy that irrevocable funeral trusts are not assets for purposes of determining eligibility for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to Allow All Employers to Offer Compensatory Time: That NFDA strongly support acceptable federal legislation that would allow any employer to make compensatory time available as an option for any and all employees regardless of their status under the Wage and Hour law and regulations.