2003 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Representative McBride
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 73-11-51, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THAT FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND OTHER FUNERAL SERVICE LICENSEES SHALL COMPLETE CERTAIN CONTINUING EDUCATION COURSES EACH YEAR; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 73-11-51, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-11-51. (1) No person shall engage in the business or practice of funeral service, including embalming, and/or funeral directing or hold himself out as transacting or practicing or being entitled to transact or practice funeral service, including embalming, and/or funeral directing in this state unless duly licensed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(2) The board is authorized and empowered to examine applicants for licenses for the practice of funeral service and funeral directing and shall issue the proper license to those persons who successfully pass the applicable examination and otherwise comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(3) To be licensed for the practice of funeral directing under this chapter, a person must:
(a) Be at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(b) Have a high school diploma or the equivalent thereof;
(c) Have served as a resident trainee for not less than twenty-four (24) months under the supervision of a person licensed for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing in this state;
(d) Have successfully passed a written and/or oral examination as prepared or approved by the board; and
(e) Be of good moral character.
(4) To be licensed for the practice of funeral service under this chapter, a person must:
(a) Be at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(b) Have a high school diploma or the equivalent thereof;
(c) Have successfully completed twelve (12) months or more of academic and professional instruction from an institution accredited by the United States Department of Education for funeral service education and have a certificate of completion from an institution accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education or any other successor recognized by the United States Department of Education for funeral service education;
(d) Have served as a resident trainee for not less than twelve (12) months, either prior to or after graduation from an accredited institution mentioned above, under the supervision of a person licensed for the practice of funeral service in this state and in an establishment licensed in this state;
(e) Have successfully passed a written and/or oral examination as prepared or approved by the board; and
(f) Be of good moral character.
(5) All applications for examination and license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing shall be upon forms furnished by the board and shall be accompanied by an examination fee, a licensing fee and a nonrefundable application fee in amounts fixed by the board in accordance with Section 73-11-56. The fee for an initial license, however, may be prorated in proportion to the period of time from the date of issuance to the date of biennial license renewal prescribed in subsection (8) of this section. All applications for examination shall be filed with the board office at least sixty (60) days prior to date of examination. A candidate shall be deemed to have abandoned the application for examination if he does not appear on the scheduled date of examination unless such failure to appear has been approved by the board.
(6) The practice of funeral service or funeral directing must be engaged in at a licensed funeral establishment, at least one (1) of which is listed as the licensee's place of business; and no person, partnership, corporation, association or other organization shall open or maintain a funeral establishment at which to engage in or conduct or hold himself or itself out as engaging in the practice of funeral service or funeral directing until such establishment has complied with the licensing requirements of this chapter. A license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing shall be used only at licensed funeral establishments; however, this provision shall not prevent a person licensed for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing from conducting a funeral service at a church, a residence, public hall, lodge room or cemetery chapel, if such person maintains a fixed licensed funeral establishment of his own or is in the employ of or an agent of a licensed funeral establishment.
(7) Any person holding a valid, unrevoked and unexpired license in another state or territory having requirements substantially similar to those of this state may apply for a license to practice in this state by filing with the board a certified statement from the secretary of the licensing board of the state or territory in which the applicant holds his license certifying to his qualifications and good standing with that board by having successfully passed a written and/or oral examination on the Mississippi Funeral Service licensing law and rules and regulations as prepared or approved by the board, and by paying a nonrefundable application fee set by the board pursuant to Section 73-11-56. If the board finds that the applicant has fulfilled substantially similar requirements, the board shall grant such license upon receipt of a fee in an amount equal to the renewal fee set by the board for a license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing, as the case may be, in this state. The board may issue a temporary funeral service or funeral directing work permit before a license is granted, prior to the next regular meeting of the board, if the applicant for a reciprocal license has complied with all requirements, rules and regulations of the board. The temporary permit will expire at the next regular meeting of the board.
(8) (a) Any person holding a license for the practice of funeral service or funeral directing may have the same renewed for a period of two (2) years by making and filing with the board an application on or before the due date. Each individual applicant for renewal of a license issued by the board, on or before the expiration date of his license, or at a time directed by the board, shall submit proof of completion of not less than sixteen (16) clock hours of approved course work to the board, in addition to any other requirements for renewal. Eight (8) clock hours of the required sixteen (16) clock hours of approved course work must be completed in each of the two (2) years preceding the renewal of the license. The sixteen (16) clock hours' course work requirement shall apply to each two-year license renewal, and hours in excess thereof shall not be cumulated or credited for the purposes of subsequent license renewals except as provided herein. The board shall develop standards for approval of courses and shall require certification of such course work of the applicant. The board may determine any required subject matter within the mandated sixteen (16) hours. However, the required subjects shall not exceed eight (8) hours of the total sixteen (16) hours. Approved continuing education hours earned in the final three (3) months of a licensee's renewal period, if in excess of the required minimum sixteen (16) hours, may be carried over and credited to the next renewal period. However, no more than six (6) hours may be carried over in this manner. Any member of the Mississippi Legislature who has a license under this section shall be credited with eight (8) hours of credit for the attendance of each year of a legislative session. The board shall promulgate rules and regulations as necessary to accomplish the purposes of this section in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative Procedures Law. Payment of the renewal fee shall be in an amount set by the board in accordance with Section 73-11-56. The board shall mail the notice of renewal and the due date for the payment of the renewal fee to the last known address of each licensee at least thirty (30) days before that date. It is the responsibility of the licensee to notify the board in writing of any change of address. An application will be considered late if the application and proper fees are not in the board's office or postmarked by the due date.
(b) If the renewal fee is not paid on or postmarked by the due date, the license of such person shall by operation of law automatically expire and become void without further action of the board. The board may reinstate such license if application for licensure is made within a period of five (5) years, upon payment of the renewal fee for the current year, all renewal fees in arrears, and a reinstatement fee . After a period of five (5) years, the licensee must make application, pay the current renewal fee, all fees in arrears, and pass a written and/or oral examination as prepared or approved by the board.
(9) No license shall be assignable or valid for any person other than the original licensee.
(10) The board may, in its discretion, in the event of a major disaster or emergency where human death is likely to occur, temporarily authorize the practice of funeral directing and funeral service by persons licensed to practice in another state but not licensed to practice in this state, provided that such services are only rendered by members of disaster mortuary teams authorized by federal or appropriate local authorities to provide such services. Only persons licensed in this state, however, may sign death certificates.
(11) On an individual basis, a person who is licensed for the practice of funeral service by another state is authorized to make a removal of a deceased person, embalm a deceased person or conduct a funeral or burial service in this state, and a funeral director who is licensed by another state is authorized to conduct a funeral or burial service in this state, in the same manner and to the same extent as provided by the laws of that state to persons licensed by the State of Mississippi for the practice of funeral service or for the practice of funeral directing.
(12) Any funeral service technology or mortuary science program accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education in the State of Mississippi, as well as students enrolled in such a program, shall be exempt from licensing under this chapter when embalming or otherwise preparing a deceased human body for disposition as part of a student practicum experience, when the student is directly supervised by an instructor or preceptor who holds a current funeral service license. This exemption shall apply to practicum experiences performed at an accredited institution of funeral service technology or mortuary science program or at a duly licensed funeral establishment or commercial mortuary service. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow any funeral service technology or mortuary science program, or those students enrolled in such a program, to engage in practicum experiences for remuneration.
(13) Each application or filing made under this section shall include the social security number(s) of the applicant in accordance with Section 93-11-64.
(14) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, the board shall issue a license for the practice of funeral directing to any person who (a) is at least sixty (60) years of age, (b) has not less than five (5) years' experience as an employee at a licensed funeral establishment in Mississippi, (c) is presently employed at a licensed funeral establishment in Mississippi, and (d) makes application to the board for the license during the period from July 1, 2002, through July 31, 2002. The board shall furnish persons seeking licensure under this subsection an application form upon request. The applicant's previous experience and current employment at a licensed funeral establishment in Mississippi must be documented in writing by the owner, management or licensee in charge of the funeral establishment and included with the application to the board.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2003.