TFDA Governmental Affairs

 

87th Legislature - January 2021

In accordance with the Texas Constitution, the Texas Legislature meets every two years for 140 days. Each session is an opportunity to work with legislators to change and improve the laws that govern funeral service.

Following the 86th Legislative Session, the TFDA Legislative Committee has been diligently watching the Legislature and stands ready to go to work this session. As the session progresses, check back here for Legislative Updates. As bills are filed and make their way through the process, we will post them here as well as other helpful material.

Among the items we hope to have an impact on this session:

  • Insurance Disclosure - Oftentimes, the family does not know who the beneficiary of an insurance policy is and do not have the emotional energy necessary to deal with an insurance company. This can create a multitude of issues, both for the family and funeral home. Last session, we supported a bill that would allow a licensed funeral director to make contact with an insurance company for purposes of determining the beneficiary of an insurance policy. In this session, we aim to push this legislation across the finish line.

  • Columbarium - State law regarding cemeteries and columbariums is unusually rigid, and for good reason. As the needs and desires of families change, so must the law. TFDA believes funeral home properties are a logical and reasonable location to place a columbarium. Families increasingly prefer a "one-stop-shop" when making funeral arrangements and having the ability to house a columbarium gives funeral homes another opportunity to serve families and simplify part of the process.

  • Autopsy - It is not uncommon for a Justice of the Peace to call for an autopsy when a cause of death is not immediately evident. In certain parts of the state, particularly rural parts, a Medical Examiner can be geographically far. Many counties will absorb the cost of the trip TO the Medical Examiner, but few counties, for budget reasons, can also absorb the cost of the return trip. This cost is often absorbed either by the funeral home or family. For several sessions, TFDA has advocated for funding to cover the cost of both trips. Last session, TFDA worked with legislative and regulatory leaders to find a funding source that does NOT increase taxes and advanced a bill out of the House. We hope to finish the work this session.