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Cemetery law change would benefit families

11:46 PM, Sep. 13, 2013  |  Comments

When a loved one dies, fulfilling final funeral and burial arrangements can be highly emotional. As someone who runs three cemeteries in Green Bay and the Fox Cities, I'm well aware of the stress families experience during this difficult time, so making the process as easy as possible is what we strive for.

I bet most Wisconsinites don't know that Wisconsin is one of just a few states that forbids joint ownership of funeral homes and cemeteries. Nearly every other state allows families the option of choosing one entity to provide both funeral and burial services. Thankfully, a bill is being considered in Madison that will repeal this outdated law.

The benefits of allowing the option of joint operations are numerous. Consumers would have the choice and convenience to make all funeral and cemetery arrangements at one time, dealing with one person. Accountability would be with one arranging organization - serving the needs of the grieving family much more efficiently.

The elderly and grieving would no longer need to move from location to location to pay final respects to deceased loved ones, which promises to provide comfort and lessen stress. Also, the greater efficiency associated with joint operations could lead to lower prices for consumers by increasing competition and eliminating duplicate administrative costs.

In fact, a recent study concludes that Wisconsin families would save $15.5 million over 10 years if we change our law. We need our state legislator, Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber, to help pass this legislation. Let's hope we can count on her to support this common-sense, pro-consumer idea.

Mike Lawniczak,

Menasha

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