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Cemetery improvement act OK'd by state lawmakers

• Jul 4, 2018 at 3:00 PM

COLUMBUS —  State lawmakers have passed House Bill 168, which provides local government funding to the 2,400 public cemeteries across Ohio that are often managed by our townships, villages, and municipalities.

Inspired by the Ohio Cemetery Task Force Report and expanding upon House Bill 395 from last General Assembly, the bill updates cemetery law to ease the burden on local governments.

Local government funds have shrunk in recent years, leaving local administrators with difficult decisions to prioritize spending. This has left many cemeteries to fall into disrepair.

HB 168 will honor the final resting places of loved ones by leveraging existing revenues of the Division of Cemeteries to offer $100,000 in grants each year for maintenance and repairs, according to state Rep. Dick Stein (R-Norwalk).

“I am pleased to announce that House Bill 168 has passed out of the Senate and is headed for the governor’s signature,” Stein said. “I am grateful for the support of my colleagues in both chambers to get HB 168 enacted in one year. I look forward to working with our local governments to implement these grant to improve our community cemeteries.”

HB 168 features two decades of modernization to recognize alternative methods of insuring public trusts to allow cemetery associations greater flexibility in their investments and to allow the Division of Cemeteries to begin receivership protocols for private abandoned cemeteries.

HB 168 will also require registered cemeteries to maintain complete digital or physical records of those interned.

Stein worked closely with the Township Association, Cemetery Association, Catholic Cemeteries, and Funeral Directors Association to address much needed provisions to assist in better cemetery management.

House Bill 168 now awaits the governor’s signature for adoption into Ohio law.

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