Missouri’s preneed regulator, the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, will meet June 2nd to continue its discussion of agenda for the upcoming legislative session. Due to the lead time required to formulate legislation, the State Board is forced to begin discussions before its 2011 legislative agenda (SB325) even becomes law on August 28th. With the examination process having only begun this past January, the State Board does not even have the basis to evaluate crucial provisions of Senate Bill No. 1. Accordingly, the State Board faces decisions about what its legislative goals should be for the next year.

For the June 2nd meeting (and its prior May 18th meeting), the State Board staff went back to the various legislative proposals made during the summer of 2010 as a starting point. The temptation of Board may be to go through those proposals and evaluate each one on its merits. But the better approach would be to evaluate each proposal in terms of need and consistency with the legislative intent for SB1.

For example, page 9 of the June 2nd agenda includes changes intended to take preneed trusting to 100%. The proposal was discussed on May 18th, put up for a vote, and then withdrawn for further discussion on June 2nd. While it would be worthwhile to have a discussion on the merits of the proposal (including how 100% trusting would benefit both the consumer and the industry), the more important questions are whether the proposal is needed, and whether it is consistent with the legislative intent of SB1.