The legislation that would have converted the Missouri State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors from an industry board to a consumer board did not get to a vote on the floor, but got further than most expected. Seeking to make the State Board more responsive to preneed consumers, Rep. McGaugh’s efforts got an unexpected boost from the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association. Taking a flyer on HB 596, the Association provided its backing in exchange for amendments that would transfer preneed exam powers from the State Board to the Division of Finance. The MFDEA advised its members that the industry had lost control of the examination process.
In the end, the Association’s backing of HB 596 did not prove enough and Governor Greitens will eventually fill the three vacant Board chairs. If both of HB 596’s messages are taken to heart, the State Board should reevaluate its preneed exam procedures and goals. The exam process needs to be more efficient, and provide better consumer protection.