THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

203

TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2008

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

requesting the director of commerce and consumer affairs to establish a pre-need funeral industry advisory committee to provide input on concerns and solutions regarding the pre-need funeral industry.

 

 


     WHEREAS, the residents of Hawaii are provided funeral services by approximately twenty companies of which the majority offer pre-need funeral plans; and

 

     WHEREAS, pre-need funeral plans provide consumers the ability to pre-arrange their funerals in order to relieve their family members of the trouble of making funeral arrangements at the time of their death; and

 

     WHEREAS, there are more than 100,000 people in Hawaii who have purchased a pre-need funeral plan with a total value of more than $150,000,000, which is held in trust; and

 

     WHEREAS, recent incidents of questionable practices by Memorial Mortuary have led to a settlement to repay a total of $150,000 to customers who bought pre-need funeral services from Memorial Mortuary; and

 

     WHEREAS, furthermore, public concerns regarding Honolulu Memorial Park have alleged mismanagement and failure to fulfill promises to restore the aging cemetery; and

 

     WHEREAS, ongoing proceedings have alleged that the trustees of RightStar properties, which include the Valley of the Temples, Homelani, Kona, and Maui Memorial Parks, have improperly removed approximately $30,000,000 from the company's pre-need funeral plan trust funds; and

 

     WHEREAS, the existing monitoring system for the cemetery and pre-need funeral industry, which currently only requires the submission of annual actuarial and financial reports, is not adequately designed to protect consumers from further situations, such as RightStar; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Legislature seeks ways to prevent these situations through means, such as providing a venue for input and collaboration among the funeral industry, consumers, and government agencies; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2008, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is requested to establish a Pre-Need Funeral Industry Advisory Committee to provide input on concerns and solutions regarding the pre-need funeral industry; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Pre-Need Funeral Industry Advisory Committee consists of the following members:

 

     (1)  Three members representing the cemetery and funeral trust industry consisting of one member from each of the following organizations:

 

         (A)  An organization representing the pre-need industry;

 

         (B)  An organization representing the cemetery industry; and

 

         (C)  An organization representing the funeral directors;

 

     (2)  Three members representing consumer organizations;

 

     (3)  One member from the general public;

 

     (4)  Four ex-officio members representing:

 

         (A)  The Department of Health;

 

         (B)  The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs;

 

         (C)  The Executive Office on Aging; and

 

         (D)  The Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs; and

 

     (5)  Any other individuals who the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs determines would be appropriate to serve and assist in the work of the Advisory Committee; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Pre-Need Funeral Industry Advisory Committee is requested to:

 

     (1)  Provide comments to the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs regarding requested qualifications for the licensing of cemetery or pre-need funeral authorities as may be necessary for the welfare of the public, and the cemetery and pre-need funeral authority industry; and

 

     (2)  Provide information on the practices and policies of the cemetery and pre-need funeral authority industry and make recommendations to the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs regarding practices and policies that would support the welfare of the public, and the cemetery and pre-need funeral authority industry; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs submit a written report to the Legislature of the Pre-Need Funeral Industry Advisory Committee's findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation that may be necessary to address the concerns relating to the cemetery and pre-need funeral industry, and a recommendation on whether a permanent advisory committee should be established no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the 2009 Regular Session; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor; the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; the Director of Health; the Director of the Executive Office on Aging; the Chairperson of the Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs; the President of the Hawaii Funeral Directors Association; the President of the Hawaii Allied Memorial Council; the President


of the Pre-Need Funeral Association; and the President of the Funeral Consumer Alliance.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title: 

Pre-Need Funeral Industry; Advisory Committee; Establish