Sheep Pen Cemetery photographs courtesy of Scott Andersen - September, 2011 and April, 2012

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meeting Minutes of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Committee - August 20 (Final), September 19 and September 24 (both draft) 2014

The Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Committee has now concluded their monthly meetings.  All of their meeting minutes are posted online on the website of the Ohio Department of Commerce, Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing - Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Meetings and Testimony .

Hopefully, the cemetery law task force's final report will also be shared online after it is completed.  

The Ohio State legislators will be the ones to review the task force's report and act upon its recommendations one way or another.  

Thus, more news will follow on this subject once our state senators and representatives make their decisions based on the report.  


The members of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Committee are to be commended for their dedication to this vast and daunting subject pertaining to the various cemetery laws affecting the state's cemeteries as they do in several ways; many of which are difficult to interpret and fully understand. 

We hope that all of the work done by the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Committee members during the meetings this year will translate into strengthening and improving the Ohio Revised Codes that impact Ohio's cemeteries; all of Ohio's cemeteries.    

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MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE OHIO CEMETERY LAW TASK FORCE
77 S. High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room August 20, 2014
Columbus, OH 43215-6133 10:00 a.m.
_______________________________________________________________
I. Preliminary Matters

Co-chair Noonan called the meeting to order.
Roll Call: Laura Monick conducted roll call.

Present: Stephen George, Hon. Keith G. Houts, Hon. Cory Noonan, Anne M. Petit, Patrick Piccininni, Jay Russell, David Snyder, James Turner, James Wright.
Excused: Daniel Applegate, Dr. John N. Low

Review of Meeting Minutes: Co-chair Noonan opened the floor for discussion of the minutes of the July 25, 2014 meeting of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force. There being no discussion Mr. Turner moved to approve the minutes of the July 25th meeting. Mr. Piccininni seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

II. Old Business

Co-chair Noonan opened the floor for discussion of old business.
Co-chair Petit introduced a letter from Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator Steve Buehrer as addressed to Timothy C. Long, Ohio Cemetery Association Legislative Agent and Attorney, relating to the scope rating of cemetery salespeople. The task force discussed the complexity of the issue and that they were encouraged by the information that there is now an open dialogue concerning the issue. Mr. Russell then moved that the task force should note in the final report that this is an area of concern for cemeteries due to the impact of scope ratings on operating expenses. Mr. Turner seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The discussion was then turned over to Mr. Turner to explain the process being followed by the sub-committee at their August 8th meeting. The sub-committee also met prior to this meeting to begin editing the initial draft as sent to the task force members. The task force then discussed the structural outline for the final report, the appropriate sections for topics that will be laid out in the final report and where more detail was needed.

The task force then moved on to the natural burial definition. The task force previously agreed to a definition and was left with discussing the proper location for the definition in the Revised Code. For consistency, the task force agreed that the definition should be placed in Ohio Revised Code section 1721.21 with the other cemetery definitions. This also requires a revision to Ohio Revised Code section 4767.01(A) to add the term “natural burial.”

Finally, the task force touched on the topic of tax advantaged easements and set aside programs. Research conducted by Mr. Russell found that Indiana has a process to lower the tax valuation for a cemetery on private property to $1/acre but that the process included the need for a professional survey and that this was often cost prohibitive to the landowner. Co-chair Petit found information that Michigan repealed their law but there was no documented reasoning behind the repeal. Finally, Co-chair Petit introduced information from Washington State concerning their law permitting non-profit preservation and maintenance corporations. The task force concluded that their recommendation should include information concerning the availability of numerous options that could help address the topic of historic cemeteries on private property.

III. New Business
Co-chair Noonan brought the task force into new business and discussion began on the limited time left for the task force to complete their final report. A final review was made of the report draft provided to the task force members; including whether there were any topics discussed by the task force but not included in the current draft.

The task force then deliberated on the distribution of the final report upon completion. Mr. George moved that a hard copy of the report be provided to the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate with an electronic version of the report being sent to the rest of the General Assembly. Mr. Turner seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Upon discussion of the next meeting date the task force agreed to meet on September 19th at 10:00am. However, both co-chairs were unavailable on that day. Mr. Piccininni moved to designate a chair pro-tempore for the September 19th meeting. Mr. Turner seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Turner nominated Mr. Piccininni as chair pro-tempore for the September 19th task force meeting. Co-chair Petit seconded the motion. Mr. Piccininni accepted the nomination. The motion passed unanimously.

The sub-committee asked that any ideas or corrections to the draft report be submitted by the task force members by September 1st and that anything submitted be related to discussions already held in order to help keep the drafting process moving in a timely manner. After those revisions, the target for a final draft being sent to the task force members is September 12th.

Next Meeting Dates:
September 19th at 10:00 am

IV. Adjournment
Mr. Turner moved to adjourn. Mr. Russell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
As submitted by Laura A. Monick.
Final minutes not approved by the Task Force

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE OHIO CEMETERY LAW TASK FORCE
77 S. High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room September 19, 2014
Columbus, OH 43215-6133 10:00 a.m.
_______________________________
__________________________________________
I. Preliminary Matters

Pro-tempore Piccininni called the meeting to order.
Roll Call: Laura Monick conducted roll call.

Present: Daniel Applegate, Hon. Keith G. Houts, Patrick Piccininni, Jay Russell, David Snyder, James Turner, James Wright, Laura Monick on behalf of Anne M. Petit.
Excused: Stephen George, Dr. John N. Low, Hon. Cory Noonan, Anne M. Petit.

Review of Meeting Minutes: Pro-tempore Piccininni opened the floor for discussion of the minutes of the August 20, 2014 meeting of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force. There being no discussion Mr. Turner moved to approve the minutes of the August 20th meeting. Mr. Russell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

II. Old Business

Pro-tempore Piccininni opened the floor for discussion of old business and a page-by-page discussion began on the draft report completed by the writing sub-committee. Minor edits were made to pages 4, 5, 8, and 22 upon agreement of the members. An introductory sentence was also discussed for inclusion on page 14 to lead into the “Recommendation for Legislative Initiatives” section.

The task force then began discussions on the current edits made to the “Criminal Offenses and Penalties” and “Private Property Rights & Regulatory Taking Issues” sections of the report. Upon discussion, Mr. Turner moved that he would make edits to those sections using track changes and that the task force re-visits those two sections at the September 24th meeting. Mr. Russell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

After completing a review of each page, Mr. Turner then moved to adopt the version of the report as amended during the meeting, including the introductory sentence on page 14, with the exception of pages 19, 20, 25 and 26. Mr. Wright seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Discussion then turned to the co-chairs and ensuring their opportunity to make edits. Mr. Turner moved to grant authority to Co-chairs Noonan and Petit to make editorial and grammatical changes without requiring approval of the full task force for their edits. Mr. Houts seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Next Meeting Dates:

September 24th at 9:30 am

III. Adjournment

Mr. Turner moved to adjourn. Mr. Houts seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
As submitted by Laura A. Monick.
Final minutes not approved by the Task Force

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE OHIO CEMETERY LAW TASK FORCE
77 S. High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room September 24, 2014
Columbus, OH 43215-6133 9:30 a.m.

_____________________________________________________
I. Preliminary Matters

Co-chair Petit called the meeting to order.
Roll Call: Laura Monick conducted roll call.

Present: Daniel Applegate, Stephen George, Hon. Keith G. Houts, Dr. John N. Low, Anne M. Petit, Patrick Piccininni, Jay Russell, David Snyder, James Turner, James Wright.
Excused: Hon. Cory Noonan.

II. Old Business

Co-chair Petit brought the task force into old business and passed along regards from Co-chair Noonan and his appreciation for the task force members’ work.

The task force then began discussions on the current edits made to the “Criminal Offenses and Penalties” and “Private Property Rights & Regulatory Taking Issues” sections of the report. The members approved of the new edits and of how the sections captured the discussions of the task force. After discussion on wording, Mr. Piccininni moved to adopt the sections as drafted with the changes discussed during the meeting. Mr. Turner seconded the motion. Discussion then commenced on including a more specific reference to the transport and trafficking of funerary goods and human remains. After two additional edits, Mr. Piccininni moved to amend his motion to include the new edits. Mr. Turner amended his second. The amended motion passed unanimously.

The task force members then all expressed gratitude for each member coming into the meetings with open minds and expressing a willingness to engage in thoughtful discussions which resulted in a better understanding of all opinions presented to the task force.

III. Adjournment
The final meeting of the task force was then adjourned.