Delaware General Assembly







BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code by adding a new Chapter 79A as follows:

“Chapter 79A. Cemetery Registration and Distressed Cemetery Fund.

§7901A. Objectives.

The primary objective of this chapter is to provide for the registration of cemeteries in Delaware. The secondary objectives are to appropriately refer complaints from the public relating to cemeteries, create a fund that can be used to ameliorate the conditions in a distressed cemetery, and provide for the recordation of the locations of interred human remains.

§7902A. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless otherwise stated:

(1) ‘Board’ means the Cemetery Board established in this chapter.

(2) ‘Cemetery’ shall mean land or structure used or intended to be used for the interment of human remains.

(3) ‘Cemetery company’ shall mean any person engaged in the business of (i) selling or offering for sale any grave or entombment right in a cemetery and representing to the public that the entire cemetery property, a single grave, or entombment right therein will be indefinitely cared for; or (ii) maintaining a facility used for the interment or disposal of humans remains.

(4) ‘Department’ means Department of Health and Social Services.

(5) ‘Distressed Cemetery’ means any land or structure used or intended to be used for the interment of human remains whereby the owner lacks sufficient financial resources for the maintenance or preservation of said cemetery as determined by the Board.

(6) ‘Distressed Cemetery Fund’ or ‘Fund’ means the monies collected as provided herein for maintenance or preservation of a distressed cemetery.

§7903A. Cemetery Board.

(a) There is established a Cemetery Board that shall consist of five members appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services including three who are owners or operators of cemeteries and two who are public members. Each member shall serve for a term for 2 years, and may successively serve for 1 additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member shall successively serve for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member.

(b) Members of the Board serve without compensation except that they may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incident to their duties as members of the Board. A Chairperson of the Board shall be chosen by members of the Board from among its members, shall serve in that capacity for a term of 1 year, and shall be eligible for reelection.

(c) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled meetings at least twice each year, and at such times as the Chairperson deems necessary; or at the request of a majority of the Board members.

§7904A. Powers and Duties.

(a) The Cemetery Board shall have authority to:

(1) Promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement this chapter;

(2) Designate the registration form to be used by all registrants;

(3) Administer the Distressed Cemetery Fund;

(4) Designate the form to be submitted by applicants for relief from the Fund;

(5) Designate a cemetery as “distressed” based on standards set forth herein and in the Rules and Regulations;

(6) Authorize payment to a distressed cemetery from the Fund;

(7) Require an audit of recipients of monies from the Fund.

(8) Receive and forward to appropriate agencies of the State, or other organizations, complaints from any person relating to a Delaware cemetery.

§7905A. Records.

The Department shall keep a register of cemeteries in this State and records relating to meetings of the Board.

§7906A. Registration required.

All cemetery companies and cemetery owners in this State shall register biennially with the Cemetery Board and pay the registration fee determined by Department of Health and Social Services in an amount that approximates and reasonably reflects the costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board.

§7907A. Distressed Cemetery Fund

(a) The Distressed Cemetery Fund is funded by adding two dollars ($2.00) to the fee established in 16 Del. C. §3132 for each copy of a certificate of death. Individuals and organizations may also make contributions or bequests to the Fund.

(b) Administrative support shall be provided by the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Social Services.

(c) The Distressed Cemetery Fund must be audited annually by the State Auditor’s Office.”

Section 2. Amend §3132(a) of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by deleting the number “$10” and substituting in lieu thereof “$12”.

Section 3. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2009 except that the requirement for registration in 29 Del. C. §7906A established hereunder shall take effect on July 1, 2009.

Approved July 9, 2008