It’s been fifteen months and counting, but the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Directors and their Division staff are still at odds over a rule for defining minimum record keeping requirements for preneed sellers. The Division staff first floated an “Adequate Records” rule in July 2015, but the draft was not formally submitted to the Board for discussion until the following December. That proposal was criticized as ambiguous and overreaching, and a special January meeting was scheduled for further discussion. (In our January 3rd post, we reported on the outcome of that meeting.) The staff submitted a revised rule to the State Board in June, and again the State Board tabled the proposal. So last month, the Division staff submitted a third recordkeeping rule. But, the Board and staff quickly became frustrated with each other, and the proposal was tabled with a warning from the Board attorney that licensees will suffer the consequences if no rule is adopted. That warning suggests that the Division staff will continue to direct the preneed examiners to seek the types of records described in the rule proposal. Some sellers will not be able to produce the requested records, and those ‘missing records’ will be cited as exceptions on the examination report. It will then be the licensees’ turn to become frustrate when summoned by the staff to appear before the Board regarding the “adequacy” of their seller records.
The reluctance of the Board members to approve the record keeping proposals stems in part from their own uncertainty about what records are being sought, and the purposes for requiring such records. The mantra expressed by the industry, and echoed by some Board members, is that the staff is attempting to go beyond the mandate of SB1 (to ensure all consumer funds are deposited with the preneed funding agent).
Over the following weeks, we will explore the staff’s third proposal and the examination handbook in detail.