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[House Report 111-672]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


111th Congress  }                                           {    Report
  2d Session    }          HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES         {   111-672
=======================================================================
 
             BEREAVED CONSUMER'S BILL OF RIGHTS ACT OF 2010 

                                _______
                                

December 7, 2010.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Waxman, from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3655]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office)

    The Committee on Energy and Commerce, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3655) to direct the Federal Trade Commission to 
establish rules to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices related to the provision of funeral services, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Legislative History..............................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Statement of Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations....     5
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     6
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     6
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................     6
Federal Advisory Committee Statement.............................     6
Applicability of Law to Legislative Branch.......................     6
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     6
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................     6
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     7
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     8
Explanation of Amendment.........................................    10
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    10
Dissenting Views.................................................    11

                               AMENDMENT

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Bereaved Consumer's Bill of Rights Act 
of 2010''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress finds that--
          (1) there have been shocking consumer abuses in the funeral 
        industry, including scandals at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, 
        Illinois, Menorah Gardens Cemetery in Palm Beach, Florida, and 
        the Tri State Crematory in Noble, Georgia;
          (2) funeral arrangements are a major expense for most 
        American households and families;
          (3) some consumers seek to ease the burdens on their families 
        by arranging and paying for pre-need funeral and cemetery 
        arrangements;
          (4) most funerals are planned by grieving family members at a 
        time when they are especially vulnerable and unlikely to focus 
        on cost comparison;
          (5) the Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Industry Practices 
        Trade Regulation Rule (known as the Funeral Rule) dictates 
        consumer protections in the funeral home, but does not cover 
        the practices of cemeteries, crematoria, or sellers of 
        monuments, urns, or caskets;
          (6) State laws are inconsistent and frequently too weak to 
        provide adequate consumer protections, creating a need for 
        minimum federal standards in this area;
          (7) consumers have the right to receive clear and accurate 
        information about all funeral goods and services offered for 
        sale;
          (8) consumers need effective protection from fraud and 
        abusive practices by all providers of funeral goods and 
        services and at all stages of the funeral planning process; and
          (9) a new Federal law that provides adequate protections to 
        grieving families is warranted.

SEC. 3. FTC RULEMAKING RELATING TO UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ACTS OR 
                    PRACTICES IN THE PROVISION OF FUNERAL GOODS OR 
                    SERVICES.

  (a) In General.--The Federal Trade Commission shall prescribe rules 
prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the provision of 
funeral goods or services. Such rules shall include the following:
          (1) A requirement that providers of funeral goods or funeral 
        services furnish accurate price information disclosing clearly 
        and conspicuously the cost to the purchaser for each of the 
        specific funeral goods or funeral services provided or offered 
        for sale.
          (2) A prohibition on misrepresentations by such providers, 
        including misrepresentations of the requirements of Federal, 
        State, or local law.
          (3) A prohibition on conditioning the provision of any 
        funeral good or funeral service upon the purchase of any other 
        funeral good or funeral service from that provider, except as 
        required by law.
          (4) A requirement that any presale disclosures and contracts 
        for funeral services or funeral goods be written clearly, 
        stating the merchandise and services that purchasers are buying 
        and their prices.
          (5) In the case of contracts for funeral services or funeral 
        goods that are pre-paid in whole or in part, a requirement for 
        clear and conspicuous presale and contractual disclosure 
        regarding any penalties incurred if the consumer decides to 
        cancel or transfer the contract to another provider of funeral 
        services or funeral goods.
          (6) A requirement that contracts for funeral services or 
        funeral goods disclose clearly and conspicuously all fees and 
        costs to be incurred in the future or at the time that the 
        funeral services or funeral goods are provided.
          (7) A requirement that cemeteries provide to consumers, in a 
        timely manner, all written rules and regulations of the 
        cemetery, and a clear explanation in writing of the interment, 
        inurnment, or entombment right that has been purchased, and any 
        material terms and conditions of that purchase, including any 
        repurchase option by the cemetery or resale rights available to 
        the consumer.
          (8) A requirement that cemeteries--
                  (A) retain all records in existence on the date of 
                enactment of this Act, including maps or other systems 
                indicating the location and date of each interment, 
                inurnment, or entombment;
                  (B) accurately record and retain records of all 
                interments, inurnments, or entombments occurring, as 
                well as any internment, inurnment, or entombment rights 
                sold, after the effective date of the regulations 
                issued under this subsection, in such manner and form 
                as the Commission may prescribe in such regulations; 
                and
                  (C) make such records available to Federal, State, 
                and local governments, as appropriate.
  (b) Rulemaking.--The Commission shall prescribe the rules under 
subsection (a) within 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act. 
Such rules, and any future rules or revision of rules prescribed by the 
Commission prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the 
provision of funeral goods or services, shall be prescribed in 
accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code.
  (c) Application of Rules to Tax Exempt Organizations and States.--
Notwithstanding the definition of corporation in section 4 of the 
Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 44), the rules prescribed under 
subsection (a), and any future rules or revision of rules prescribed by 
the Commission prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the 
provision of funeral goods or funeral services, shall also apply to 
cemeteries organized or operated by--
          (1) organizations described in section 501(c) of the Internal 
        Revenue Code of 1986 that are exempt from taxation under 
        section 501(a) of such Code, except for cemeteries organized, 
        operated, managed, and owned by a religious denomination, 
        middle judicatory, house of worship, or similar religious 
        organization, and that are not organized, operated, managed, or 
        owned by contract or affiliation with a for-profit provider of 
        funeral goods or services that offers those goods and services 
        for sale to the public; and
          (2) States or any political subdivision of a State.
  (d) Enforcement.--Any violation of any rule prescribed under this 
section shall be treated as a violation of a regulation prescribed 
under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 
U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)) regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices. 
The Federal Trade Commission shall enforce this Act in the same manner, 
by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction as though all 
applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act 
were incorporated into and made a part of this Act. Any person who 
violates the regulations prescribed under this Act shall be subject to 
the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in 
that Act.

SEC. 4. ENFORCEMENT BY STATES.

  (a) In General.--Whenever an attorney general of any State has reason 
to believe that the interests of the residents of that State have been 
or are being threatened or adversely affected because any person has 
engaged or is engaging in an act or practice which violates any rule of 
the Commission issued under section 3 of this Act or the Trade 
Regulation Rule on Funeral Industry Practices (16 C.F.R. 453.1 et 
seq.), the State, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action on behalf 
of its residents in an appropriate district court of the United States 
to enjoin such violative act or practice, to enforce compliance with 
such rule of the Commission, to obtain damages, restitution, or other 
compensation on behalf of residents of such State, or to obtain such 
further and other relief as the court may determine appropriate.
  (b) Notice.--The State shall provide prior written notice of any 
civil action under subsection (a) or (f)(2) to the Commission and 
provide the Commission with a copy of its complaint, except that if it 
is not feasible for the State to provide such prior notice, the State 
shall provide such notice immediately upon instituting such action. 
Upon receiving a notice respecting a civil action, the Commission shall 
have the right--
          (1) to intervene in such action;
          (2) upon so intervening, to be heard on all matters arising 
        therein;
          (3) to remove the action to the appropriate United States 
        district court; and
          (4) to file petitions for appeal.
  (c) Construction.--For purposes of bringing any civil action under 
subsection (a), nothing in this Act shall prevent an attorney general 
from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the 
laws of such State to conduct investigations or to administer oaths or 
affirmations or to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production 
of documentary and other evidence.
  (d) Actions by Commission.--Whenever a civil action has been 
instituted by or on behalf of the Commission for violation of any rule 
prescribed under section 3 of this Act, no State may, during the 
pendency of such action instituted by or on behalf of the Commission, 
institute a civil action under subsection (a) or (f)(2) of this section 
against any defendant named in the complaint in such action for 
violation of any rule as alleged in such complaint.
  (e) Venue; Service of Process.--Any civil action brought under 
subsection (a) of this section in a district court of the United States 
may be brought in the district in which the defendant is found, is an 
inhabitant, or transacts business or wherever venue is proper under 
section 1391 of title 28, United States Code. Process in such an action 
may be served in any district in which the defendant is an inhabitant 
or in which the defendant may be found.
  (f) Actions by Other State Officials.--
          (1) Construction.--Nothing contained in this section shall 
        prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State 
        court on the basis of an alleged violation of any civil or 
        criminal statute of such State.
          (2) Other state actions.--In addition to actions brought by 
        an attorney general of a State under subsection (a) of this 
        section, such an action may be brought by officers of such 
        State who are authorized by the State to bring actions in such 
        State on behalf of its residents.

SEC. 5. EFFECT ON OTHER LAW.

  Nothing in this Act or the rules prescribed under this Act shall be 
construed to preempt any provision of any law of a State or political 
subdivision of that State that provides protections to consumers of 
funeral services or funeral goods, except to the extent that the 
provision of law is inconsistent with any provision of this Act or a 
rule prescribed under this Act, and then only to the extent of the 
inconsistency.

SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act--
          (1) the term ``cemetery'' means any organization, association 
        or other business that offers for sale the interment, 
        inurnment, or entombment of human remains, but does not include 
        any cemetery that--
                  (A) performs fewer than 25 interments, inurnments, 
                and entombments during any calendar year; or
                  (B) sells fewer than 25 interment, inurnment, or 
                entombment rights during any calendar year;
          (2) the term ``funeral goods'' are the goods which are sold 
        or offered for sale directly to the public for use in 
        connection with funeral services; and
          (3) the term ``funeral services'' means--
                  (A) any services which are sold or offered for sale 
                to the public in order to--
                          (i) care for and prepare deceased human 
                        bodies for burial, cremation, or other final 
                        disposition; or
                          (ii) arrange, supervise, or conduct the 
                        funeral ceremony or the final disposition of 
                        deceased human bodies; or
                  (B) services provided by funeral directors, 
                morticians, cemeterians, cremationists, and retailers 
                of caskets, urns, monuments, and markers.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 3655, the ``Bereaved Consumer's Bill of Rights Act of 
2009'', was introduced by Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) on 
September 25, 2009. H.R. 3655 would require the Federal Trade 
Commission (FTC) to prescribe rules prohibiting unfair or 
deceptive acts and practices in the provision of funeral goods 
and services.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois, made national news in 
July 2009 when stories surfaced that cemetery employees had 
removed human remains from graves and resold some of the graves 
to unsuspecting consumers.\1\ H.R. 3655 was introduced by Rep. 
Rush to address some of the deplorable conditions discovered at 
Burr Oak. The legislation would require, among other things, 
that all cemeteries record and retain records of burial, 
inurnment, and entombment locations; explain to consumers the 
nature of the burial, inurnment, or entombment rights they are 
purchasing; and provide consumers with all the cemetery's 
written rules and regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Bodies Unearthed at Alsip Cemetery, Chicago Tribune (July 9, 
2009).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Funeral arrangements are a major expense for most families 
and households. Each year consumers spend billions of dollars 
arranging more than two million funerals for families and 
friends.\2\ Consumers are currently protected under the FTC's 
Funeral Rule against unfair and deceptive acts and practices 
committed by funeral homes.\3\ The FTC's Funeral Rule further 
requires funeral homes to provide pricing disclosures for goods 
and services that they sell. Also, funeral homes may not force 
consumers to buy package deals but instead must allow consumers 
to pick and choose the goods and services they want.\4\ Similar 
protections, however, are not afforded to consumers of funeral, 
burial, and cremation goods and services, when those goods and 
services are sold by cemeteries, crematoria, or third-party 
sellers. Because consumers of funeral goods and services are 
grieving, they can be easily exploited and financially harmed 
by deceitful salesmen. H.R. 3655 seeks to reconcile the 
differences in consumer protections that the same consumer 
would receive when shopping for funeral-related goods and 
services as compared to burial and cremation goods and 
services.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Federal Trade Commission, Facts for Consumers: Funerals: A 
Consumer's Guide (online at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/
products/pro19.shtm).
    \3\16 C.F.R. part 453 (1982).
    \4\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 3655 was introduced on September 25, 2009, by Rep. 
Rush of Illinois. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on 
Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, and the Subcommittee 
held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3655 on January 25, 2010.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On March 24, 2010, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and 
Consumer Protection met in open markup session and forwarded 
H.R. 3655, amended, favorably to the full Committee by a voice 
vote.
    On July 21, 2010, the Committee on Energy and Commerce met 
in open markup session and considered H.R. 3655 as approved by 
the Subcommittee. The Committee adopted an amendment to the 
bill by Rep. Rush, as amended by an amendment offered by Mr. 
Gingrey of Georgia. The full Committee subsequently ordered 
H.R. 3655 favorably reported to the House, amended, by a voice 
vote.

                            COMMITTEE VOTES

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. 
There were no recorded votes during consideration of H.R. 3655.

     STATEMENT OF COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the oversight findings and recommendations of 
the Committee are reflected in the descriptive portions of this 
report, including the finding that consumers have a different 
level of protection regarding funeral-related goods and 
services as compared to burial and cremation goods and 
services.

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the performance goals and 
objectives of the Committee are reflected in the descriptive 
portions of this report, including the goal that equivalent 
consumer protections should apply to funeral-related goods and 
services and burial and cremation goods and services.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee must include a statement 
citing the specific powers granted to Congress to enact the law 
proposed by H.R. 3655. Article I, section 8, clauses 3 and 18 
of the Constitution of the United States grant the Congress the 
power to enact this law.

                  EARMARKS AND TAX AND TARIFF BENEFITS

    H.R. 3655 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives.

                  FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE STATEMENT

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., section 5(b).

             APPLICABILITY OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. 
This bill does not relate to employment or access to public 
services and accommodations.

                       FEDERAL MANDATES STATEMENT

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by Section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement whether 
the provisions of the reported bill include unfunded mandates. 
In compliance with this requirement the Committee has received 
a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included herein.

                        COMMITTEE COST ESTIMATE

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 3655. The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate on 
H.R. 3655 prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office included herein.

     BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 3655 from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                                 September 8, 2010.
Hon. Henry A. Waxman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3655, the Bereaved 
Consumer's Bill of Rights Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susan Willie.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3655--Bereaved Consumer's Bill of Rights Act of 2009

    H.R. 3655 would broaden rules prohibiting unfair or 
deceptive acts or practices in the provision of funeral goods 
or services. Among other things, the bill would require 
cemeteries to disclose all fees and costs to be incurred in the 
future or at the time such goods or services are provided and 
to keep accurate burial records. The bill would require the 
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop rules to enforce the 
new requirements within one year of enactment.
    Based on information from the FTC, CBO assumes that the 
agency would require five additional staff positions at a cost 
of about $1 million per year to develop and enforce the new 
requirements, train staff, and develop educational materials. 
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3655 would cost about $5 
million over the 2011-2015 period, assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts. Enacting H.R. 3655 could affect revenues 
from collections of civil penalties; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that revenue 
collections from those penalties would not be significant in 
any year.
    H.R. 3655 would impose intergovernmental and private-sector 
mandates, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA), because it would require public and private cemeteries 
to maintain records and respond to requests for information as 
well as issue disclosures to consumers. The bill also would 
impose mandates on providers of funeral goods or services. 
Based on information from the FTC and industry sources, CBO 
estimates that the aggregate cost of complying with the 
mandates would fall below the annual thresholds established in 
UMRA for intergovernmental and private-sector mandates ($70 
million and $141 million, respectively, in 2010, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    The bill would require public and private cemeteries and 
other funeral service providers to document and retain records 
on the location and date of each internment, inurnment, or 
entombment. The bill also would require those entities to make 
records available to federal, state, and local governments upon 
request. In most cases, state laws and industry standards 
already require recordkeeping of that kind; therefore, CBO 
estimates that the incremental cost of recording and reporting 
such information would be small.
    The bill would require public and private cemeteries to 
provide consumers with written explanations of cemetery rules 
and the specific rights, terms, conditions, prices, fees, and 
penalties associated with the goods or services purchased. 
Industry experts indicate that those practices are already the 
standard among cemeteries and most other funeral service 
providers; therefore, CBO estimates that the additional cost of 
complying with this requirement would be small.
    The bill also would require providers and retailers of 
funeral goods or services to provide clear and accurate pricing 
and fee information to purchasers. Current federal regulations 
for this industry extend only to entities that provide both 
funeral goods and services, not to those that provide one or 
the other. The bill also would prohibit conditioning the 
provision of any good or service on the purchase of any other. 
That requirement would prohibit the practice of bundling or 
packaging of certain funeral goods and services by providers 
and retailers previously not regulated by the FTC funeral rule.
    Most providers and retailers of funeral goods or services 
are already in compliance with many of the mandates contained 
in the legislation through compliance with state law or current 
industry standards. Based on information from industry 
professionals and on data on the cost of compliance from the 
FTC, CBO estimates that the additional compliance costs of 
those mandates would be small relative to the annual threshold 
for private-sector mandates.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Susan Willie 
(for federal costs), Elizabeth Cove Delisle (for the 
intergovernmental impact), and Marin Randall (for the private-
sector impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

             SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF THE LEGISLATION

Section 1. Short title

    This Act is entitled the ``Bereaved Consumer's Bill of 
Rights Act of 2010.''

Section 2. Findings

    Section 2 contains findings about abuses in the funeral 
industry and the need for additional regulation.

Section 3. FTC rulemaking relating to unfair or deceptive acts or 
        practices in the provision of funeral goods or services

    Section 3(a) calls on the Federal Trade Commission to 
prescribe rules prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices in the provision of funeral goods and services. The 
subsection lists eight requirements that must be included in 
the rules. The rules must require that providers of funeral 
goods or services: (1) provide consumers with accurate, 
itemized price information for each specific funeral good or 
service offered for sale; (2) not misrepresent what federal, 
state, and local laws require in protecting consumers or 
permit, in the way of competition between providers; (3) 
prohibit conditioning the provision of any one funeral good or 
service on the purchase of another funeral good and service; 
(4) write contracts for funeral goods and services using clear 
language that consumers are likely to comprehend; (5) include 
disclosures in pre-paid contracts regarding fees or penalties 
to be assessed for cancellation or transfer, by the purchaser, 
of burial, cremation, or entombment rights to different 
facilities; (6) disclose in contracts all fees and costs to be 
incurred in the future or at the time those funeral goods or 
services are provided; (7) in the case of cemeteries, provide 
all written rules and regulations of the cemetery, as well as 
an explanation in writing of the interment, inurnment, or 
entombment right that has been purchased; and (8) in the case 
of cemeteries, retain records of the date and location of each 
internment, inurnment, and entombment as well as the 
corresponding rights of disposition (i.e., perpetual or term), 
and make those records available to federal, state, and local 
governments.
    The Committee expects the FTC to encourage cemeteries and 
funeral homes to digitize their records and ensure backup 
copies are stored off site. It is the cemeteries' 
responsibility to ensure that each burial record can be tied to 
a grave space on a map, which in turn can be tied to a grave 
space on the ground, and digitizing these records is one of the 
best options to ensure that occurs.
    Section 3(b) establishes a one year deadline for 
promulgating these rules and provides the FTC with authority to 
promulgate the rules using the procedures of the Administrative 
Procedure Act. Section 3(c) applies the rules, with one 
exception, to nonprofit organizations and states. If a cemetery 
is nonprofit, but is organized, operated, managed, and owned by 
a religious organization and has no contract for the 
organization, operation, or management with a for-profit 
company, it would be exempt from the rules. Section 3(d) 
provides the FTC with the authority to enforce the rules 
established under this Act.

Section 4. Enforcement by States

    Section 4 provides states with the ability to enforce the 
Act, the rules issued under the Act, or other provisions of the 
Trade Regulation Rule on Funeral Industry Practices.

Section 5. Effect on other law

    Section 5 provides that this Act should not be construed to 
preempt any state law except to the extent that there is 
inconsistency, and then only to the extent of the 
inconsistency.

Section 6. Definitions

    Section 6 establishes definitions for the Act. The section 
defines ``cemetery'' to include any organization, association, 
or other business that offers for sale the interment, 
inurnment, or entombment of human remains except if that 
cemetery performs fewer than 25 interments, inurnments, or 
entombments per year or sells fewer than 25 such rights during 
any calendar year. The term ``funeral goods'' is defined as it 
is by the FTC in the Trade Regulation Rule on Funeral Industry 
Practices. The term ``funeral services'' is defined to 
encompass those funeral services covered by the existing FTC 
rule as well as the services provided by funeral directors, 
morticians, cemeterians, cremationists, and retailers of 
caskets, urns, monuments, and markers.

                        EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENT

    Rep. Rush of Illinois offered an amendment during full 
Committee markup to provide an exemption to the requirements of 
H.R. 3655 for cemeteries run by religious organizations with no 
contract for ownership, operation, or management of the 
cemeteries. Rep. Gingrey of Georgia offered an amendment to the 
Rush amendment that clarified and slightly expanded the 
exemption to exclude those cemeteries run by religious 
organizations with no contract for ownership, operation, or 
management with a for-profit company, thus allowing such 
contracts with nonprofit entities. The Rush amendment, as 
amended by the Gingrey amendment, was agreed to by a voice 
vote.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    H.R. 3655, as reported, does not make any change in 
existing law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    We sympathize with the intent of H.R. 3655 to provide a 
federal response to the tragic events discovered at the Chicago 
Burr Oaks Cemetery (Burr Oaks) in Alsip, Illinois. We support 
meaningful and effective federal consumer protection when the 
evidence shows that States cannot effectively regulate. 
However, we believe the isolated events at Burr Oaks do not 
show any need for federal regulation. The record indicates that 
Illinois addressed these events aggressively and adequately, 
and that this type of misconduct does not occur frequently. 
Indeed, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports only a 
fraction of one percent of the more than 1.3 million consumer 
complaints it received in 2009 related to funeral services.
    Additionally, we do not believe this legislation is good 
policy nor do we believe it will effectively deter the types of 
actions that occurred at Burr Oaks. We see no evidence that 
requiring additional disclosures to consumers and recordkeeping 
would deter actions such as occurred in 2009. Criminal 
prosecution of these and similar acts provide a far more 
effective deterrent to illegal disinterment. Extending the 
current disclosure regulations under the FTC's ``Funeral Rule'' 
to cemeteries and requiring new disclosures by those currently 
subject to the Funeral Rule would increase regulatory and 
compliance costs with little or no associated consumer benefit.
    During Committee consideration of H.R. 3655, an exemption 
for religious non-profit organizations was passed. The majority 
of cemeteries in the United States are run by municipalities 
and religious organizations. Republicans offered separate 
amendments to exempt the religious and municipally operated 
cemeteries and funeral homes and restore their statutory 
exemption from regulation by the FTC. Unfortunately, the 
Majority only accepted the amendment exempting religious 
organizations from H.R. 3655. This leaves all the 
municipalities that own or operate cemeteries subject to 
federal law and FTC enforcement for the first time, even though 
the record does not include any persuasive evidence that this 
would prevent the types of actions that occurred at Burr Oaks 
or otherwise benefit consumers.
    There is also the issue of federalism to address. We find 
evidence demonstrating that the States can effectively regulate 
their cemeteries and funeral providers. When incidents 
suggesting the need for additional regulations do occur--as 
with Burr Oaks and a few others with similar but rare 
problems--States have responded quickly with investigations, 
prosecutions, and additional regulations as they felt 
appropriate to address their respective situations. We believe 
Congress should only consider the larger question of whether 
the FTC should have jurisdiction over any non-profit when it 
reauthorizes the FTC rather than on a piecemeal, ad hoc basis.
    Finally, we note that the bill would impose an extremely 
broad obligation on cemeteries to keep all their records 
indefinitely. This draconian recordkeeping provision would 
likely impose extensive costs with little or no benefit for 
consumers or law enforcement.
    For these reasons, we, the undersigned, cannot support H.R. 
3655.
                                   Joe Barton.
                                   Marsha Blackburn.
                                   Tim Murphy.
                                   Phil Gingrey.
                                   Joseph R. Pitts.
                                   Robert E. Latta.
                                   John Shimkus.
                                   Cliff Stearns.
                                   Lee Terry.