Outside Section 177
Data Current as of: 8/9/2016
The department of public health, in consultation with the executive office of public safety and security and the office of the chief medical examiner, shall provide recommendations on the safe handling of the body of a deceased person if it has not been claimed by next of kin in a reasonable period of time. The department shall hold at least 4 public hearings across the commonwealth to understand the regional issues related to this issue. The department shall make recommendations on: (i) ways to encourage the timely transfer and burial of remains in instances in which the next of kin is not ascertainable; (ii) ways to address costs related to the timely transfer and burial of remains in instances in which the next of kin is not ascertainable; and (iii) policies on the reasonable waiting period to be observed prior to the burial of remains in instances in which the next of kin is not ascertainable. The department shall file its recommendations, including drafts of legislation necessary to implement those regulations, with the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on public health and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on public safety and homeland security not later than January 1, 2017.
I am vetoing this section because it is unnecessary. The fiscal year 2016 General Appropriation Act funded higher incentive payments for funeral directors to handle the bodies of deceased persons in cases where those bodies go unclaimed. This initiative has virtually eliminated any backlog of unclaimed bodies of deceased persons, which is the problem this section intends to address.