Officially, its called House Committee Substitute for Senate Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 1.   Some of the ‘unofficial’ titles given this bill are not fit for publication.

It doesn’t matter who you talk to about Missouri’s current preneed reform bill, everyone has a complaint.  Even the consumer advocates.  Under normal circumstances, this general mood of discontent would ensure the defeat of a legislative proposal.  But these are not normal times, and it is appropriate that the Columbia Daily Tribune would remind the state of that fact by speaking with former Senator Jerry Howard.

In the early 1990’s, Senator Howard took on the problems of Chapter 436 and Chapter 214. While Senator Howard had success in addressing Missouri’s perpetual care law, Chapter 436 reform proved a greater hurdle.  More than a dozen years ago, representatives from the funeral and cemetery industries met with regulators to draft revisions to Chapter 436.  Although National Prearranged Service representatives attended those meetings, and provided tacit approval of the draft amendments, NPS had its own lobbying agenda.

Senator Howard took those amendment proposals to legislature, but could not obtain the necessary support of his fellow legislators.  Key legislators had been prepped for the proposals’ weaknesses.

HCS SS SCS SB1 has some flaws that need to be worked out, but time is running out for the current legislative session.  If the choice comes down to this bill or no bill, this bill should be passed with an understanding that its flaws need to be addressed by regulations and technical corrections in the next legislative session.