Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were concerned after reading in the Southtown Star that the extensive cemetery reforms put forth after the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal could be shoved to the side if a measure before the Illinois Senate is passed. After the tragic Burr Oak scandal, that is currently the subject of many Chicago lawsuits, the Cemetery Oversight Act was enacted following a governor-appointed Cemetery Oversight task Force. The reforms required a numeric tracking database for every grave in Illinois and also required Illinois funeral homes to witness burials and required the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to license cemetery operators. Senator Emil Jones III has sponsored a proposal that would eliminate many of the regulations imposed on cemeteries. If approved, the stiffer regulations enacted after the Burr Oak tragedy would only apply to large, for-profit cemeteries.
A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation responded that the goal of creating the Act was to make certain that there were “expectations of how the cemetery would treat the family and the remains.” If that did not happen, the Act made certain that the state of Illinois would be able to enforce the Cemetery Act. The spokesperson added that the cemeteries who do what they are supposed to do will find this regulatory process relatively painless.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, who first announced the widespread Burr Oak tragedy, said that Burr Oak could soon become a not-for-profit cemetery. Should stakeholders vote to confirm the Burr Oak reorganization, the cemetery would no longer be subject to regulation. Dart responded that it the measure introduced by Senator Emil Jones III is ironic “since that’s what started the whole thing.” Dart blames the cemetery lobby in Springfield for the proposals, saying that this has been a lucrative business for a lot of people for a long time. And, so soon the legislators forget, even though more human remains were just found at the cemetery last month!
Read more about the cemetery legislation at the Southtown Star.