March 5, 2012(Nashville, Tenn.)….Support for funeral reform in Tennessee is growing. Both the Tennessee Chapters of the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Tennessee State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed legislation to allow discounts on pre-need funeral contracts. The endorsements come as the reform measure, SB 1286, comes up for a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday, March 6 at 1:30 p.m. in LP Room 12.
Presently, Tennessee is the only state in the nation that does not allow consumers to purchase a pre-need funeral at a discount. Senate Bill 1286 and its companion House Bill 1978 would change that.
In separate letters to lawmakers, leaders of the Vietnam Veterans groups and the State FOP outlined their support for funeral reform.
“We believe this bill will benefit the consumer, in particular veterans who have already given so much to our country defending our freedoms,” said Charles Hobbs, President of the Tennessee State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America. “We believe they (veterans) and their immediate families can be better served and honored for their sacrifice for our country by offering them pre-need funeral plans that meet their pricing needs. Frankly, this bill would encourage all citizens to plan for their future needs and that’s got to be a benefit to Tennessee.”
In his letter to lawmakers Johnny Crumby, the President of the State Fraternal Order of Police, said: “Presently in many communities across the state, officers killed in the line of duty do receive a discounted rate to conduct their services. It’s a way to honor their commitment and assist their families during a very difficult time. Ironically, however, if an officer and his family wanted to plan ahead for their final expenses and receive a discount, in Tennessee that would be considered illegal. That seems wrong to us.”
“We are so pleased to have the support of the Vietnam Veterans and the State Fraternal Order of Police for this legislation,” said Fred Berry, a fourth-generation Knoxville funeral home director. “It’s a clear sign that Tennesseans want funeral reform because it’s the right thing to do to get Tennessee back in step with rest of the country in this matter.”
Tennesseans for Funeral Reform include a number of funeral home directors across the state. Its legislation has been endorsed by the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA), an international trade association representing all segments of the funeral industry with membership of more than 7,500 cemeteries, funeral homes, cremation, memorial designers and related businesses worldwide. The ICCFA Executive Director has also sent a letter of support to all members of the General Assembly.
For more information, on this issue go to www.TennesseeFuneralReform.com