What transpired over the years at Burr Oak Cemetery is an atrocity. Hundreds of grave spaces have been desecrated, causing extreme emotional distress to all families having a loved one buried at the cemetery.
The demand for action has been intense, and Illinois politicians have responded with legislative proposals to improve oversight of cemeteries. The Comptroller’s proposal would require cemeteries to be licensed. Governor Quinn has countered with a proposal to establish a commission. Some in the press assert there are enough laws on the books to take action. To an extent, the latter point of view is accurate. There are laws on the books to protect against what happened at Burr Oak. The issue is who has the responsibility (and resources) to enforce those laws? (Hint: It’s not the Comptroller.)
If the public sides with the politicians seeking to create a new state agency for cemetery oversight, there will be a cost to all cemeteries subject to that law. Those costs will eventually be passed on to the consumer and the cemetery industry will struggle with the issue of whether that law should cover the cemeteries owned by municipalities, counties and churches? Such costs will also impact funeral homes when families want a traditional funeral, but have limited resources.