March 2023

Hello Association Members,

Spring is coming quickly, and the 2023 Legislative Session has come to an end.  Legislatively our profession had only a few bills that would influence us.  HB 2006 will divide the DHHR into three separate divisions, how this will affect the O.C.M.E and Vital Registration remains to be seen.  I have been told that breaking the department into smaller groups will facilitate a more direct line of communication within the head of each division.  Senate Bill 361 contained the new West Virginia Board of Funeral Service Examiners rules concerning sections 1, 2, and 7.  Section 1 set up rules for the new license of funeral director, the new additional requirements for licensee’s in charge of a facility (the Certified Crematory Operator licensure and the L.I.C. must have an individual license to sell pre-need), and now every two years a licensee must have four O.S.H.A hours, two general hours and one hour of Ethics .  Section 2 focused on crematory and crematory operator rules and defined alkaline hydrolysis as a method of disposition. Section 7 is a new section which places all fees in one section, where costs were previously scattered throughout the entire rules.  Senate Bills 240 and 244 focused on licensing boards requiring them to be open to public examination and maintaining a list of those licensed.  Senate Bill 270 focuses on body donations and the responsibilities of the group handling the donation.  It makes the responsible party exempt from the time requirements of when a deceased must be cremated and the time requirements of when the cremains must be returned to a family.  The responsible party (donation program) is exempt from getting a cremation permit, but they must notify the O.C.M.E. if the donation was involved in a crime.

Our 2023 Mid- Winter Advocacy was extremely well attended.  Attendees were able to get all hours needed for a renewal period and we were able to provide an ethics class as a general education class, which will be mandatory as mentioned in the above rules information.  That evening we held our legislative reception and were able to interact with several Senate and House members.

In February we sponsored a Certified Crematory Operators course presented by N.F.D.A. and we had more than 30 funeral directors participate in the course.

The West Virginia Funeral Directors and Crematory Operators Association will have our 129th annual convention June 5-7, 2023, in Charleston.  The host hotel is the Charleston Marriott, and we have a room block with a convention rate.  Our memorial service, continuing education, annual business meeting and officer installation will be held at the Marriott, while June 6th we will be having exhibits in the new section of the Charleston Coliseum and Convention center which overlooks the river and city.  This venue should create a great exhibition atmosphere.  We will also have the honor of hosting NFDA Immediate Past President Randy Anderson at our event. Please make room arrangements as soon as possible to take advantage of our room block.   I will put out an agenda of events with dates as well as registration forms in the weeks to come.

We continue to have several licensee and apprentice openings throughout the state, so if you know of someone looking for those positions, contact me at 304-345-4711.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone this summer.

Respectfully, Rob Kimes