Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cemetery Oversight Act in Illinois

The following press release was issue 17 January 2010.

Governor Quinn Signs Cemetery Oversight Act
After Burr Oak Tragedy, New Consumer Law Sets Tougher Rules

CHICAGO – January 17, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed into law the Cemetery Oversight Act, which implements many of the reforms and recommendations of the Cemetery Oversight Task Force, which was created by the Governor last summer in response to the tragedy at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip.

The legislation creates a unified regulatory structure for the funeral and cemetery industries and provides rigorous oversight and regulation of Illinois’ cemeteries.

"We can never have another tragedy like the one at Burr Oak Cemetery. I want to thank the General Assembly for taking action to protect the families of Illinois and preserve the dignity of their loved ones,” said Governor Quinn. “With this new law, bereaved families will have a place to turn if they are not satisfied with the services provided by cemeteries, funeral directors and embalmers.”

Under the new law, all regulatory actions affecting after-death services will be overseen by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), which already regulates funeral directors and embalmers.  IDFPR currently licenses more than one million professionals in nearly 100 industries and oversees financial institutions with more than $4 trillion in assets.  House Bill 1188 was sponsored by Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) and Representative Monique Davis (D-Chicago).

“Our loved ones must be treated with the same dignity and respect in death as in life. As a member of the Governor’s task force, we put together this comprehensive legislative reform that is consolidating all regulatory responsibilities into one agency, while strengthening consumer protection laws. This is about protecting the memories of those closest to us,” said Representative Davis.

The law also establishes a "Consumer Bill of Rights," so that grieving families understand what options are available to them, exactly where their loved one will be buried, and what each of the services they select will cost. The law will also prohibit cemeteries from requiring that consumers pay in cash.

“We cannot legislate morality,” said Senator Trotter. “But as lawmakers we can set guidelines for those who do business in Illinois to ensure they do so with uniformity and with protections for the consumer. This legislation is a pro-active initiative to bring peace-of-mind to the families that endured the horrendous affair at Burr Oak Cemetery.”

Managers of private, non-religious cemeteries will also now be required to obtain a license through the state. To obtain a license, applicants must pass an exam, provide evidence of character, and comply with continuing education requirements. Other cemetery workers must also complete a "Worker's Statement," which would be filed with IDFPR, detailing his or her work history and other evidence of character.

“This Act will make Illinois one of the leading pro-consumer states with respect to cemetery oversight,” said Joshua Slocum, Executive Director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance.

The act also requires the creation of a statewide database to keep record of every burial. This will assist future generations in finding the location of a loved one's remains and will help the state discover unlawful re-burials. It also requires cemeteries to post a sign in their office that contains the IDFPR consumer hotline number and information on how to file a complaint.

If a consumer files a complaint about a cemetery to IDFPR, that cemetery may be subject to disciplinary action, including fines up to $10,000 per violation of the Cemetery Oversight Act. Prohibited activities include: unprofessional conduct, charging for services not rendered, incompetence and failure to adequately maintain the cemetery grounds.

“The Department wants the public to know that we appreciate the magnitude of this new responsibility and that we will work tirelessly to ensure that the deceased are treated with reverence and care,” said Brent E. Adams, Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. 

On July 16, 2009, Governor Quinn signed an executive order to form the Cemetery Oversight Task Force. Chaired by Patricia Brown Holmes, a partner with law firm Schiff Hardin LLP, the task force was charged with bolstering industry regulations and proposing needed consumer protections to ensure rigorous oversight and regulation of Illinois’ for-profit cemeteries. House Bill 1188 includes many of the task force’s recommendations.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chicago Cemetery News

I found two news articles that may be of interest regarding cemeteries in Chicago.  Both appeared on the Chicago Breaking News Center website.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Update on St. Johannes Cemetery

According to an article on the Chicago Breaking News Center website, “[a] state Appellate Court today temporarily barred the city of Chicago from acquiring a historic cemetery and relocating its graves to make way for a new runway at O'Hare International Airport.”

You can read the entire article, Court halts Chicago from moving graves near O'Hare, which includes additional information.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Burr Oak Cemetery – Database Now Online

The horrific tragedy that occurred at Burr Oaks Cemetery in Alsip is unfortunate.  Fortunately, the Cook County Sherriff's office has been working hard to put together a database in order to help families find their loved ones buried at Burr Oak.

The database is now online.  It is not yet complete, but they are continuously working on updating it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

St. Johannes Cemetery Relocation

An alert released on May 8th, at the City of Chicago O’Hare Modernization Program website, indicates that plans for the O’Hare expansion are moving forward and that St. Johannes Cemetery will definitely be impacted, resulting in the disinterment and reinterment of those buried there.


The City of Chicago is notifying relatives of individuals buried in St. Johannes Cemetery that the City has commenced legal proceedings to acquire the cemetery for the O’Hare Modernization Program. As part of the project, the City of Chicago plans to relocate all graves from St. Johannes Cemetery to other cemeteries.

If you are related to a person who is buried in St. Johannes Cemetery, you may have an opportunity to participate in the relocation process.

It is the City’s intention to carry out the disinterment and reinterment process at St. Johannes Cemetery in a dignified and respectful manner in consultation with the affected relatives. The City will be responsible for paying all necessary and reasonable costs associated with the relocation of the graves.

If you are related to a person buried in St. Johannes Cemetery and wish to learn more about the relocation process, please call the O’Hare Modernization Program’s Cemetery Administrator at 773-462-8441 or you may write to: Cemetery Administrator at P.O. Box 66848, 10510 W. Zemke Road, Chicago, Illinois, 60666.

If you are aware of any other person that should receive this notice, please let them know or notify the Cemetery Administrator with their information.

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