The Michigan House this week overwhelmingly approved state Rep. Rodney Wakeman’s plan that would update certain education requirements for Michigan funeral directors to keep pace with industry standards.
Wakeman’s measure makes various changes to funeral service, including a new continuing education requirement. Wakeman, of Saginaw Township, said the legislation stems from research he conducted while serving as the chair of the Michigan Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science – the funeral industry’s licensing board – from 2015-2018.
“I witnessed an increased number of complaints and subsequent inspections of funeral homes in our state while serving on the licensing board,” said Wakeman, who is in his 32nd year as a licensed funeral director. “It is my contention that many of these circumstances would have easily been averted if practitioners would have had better access to information. In comparison to the standards already adopted by our Midwest neighbors, current state law is non-existent when it comes to continuing education.”
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan, Wakeman highlighted the importance of funeral directors who serve as public health protectors.
“The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the important role funeral directors serve in keeping society safe from further spread of disease,” Wakeman noted. “However, we need to make sure funeral directors have reliable and timely access to information to maintain our responsibility of protecting public health – before a crisis strikes. Well-trained funeral professionals will know how to handle, transport, disinfect and treat remains to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens. My bill simply provides the mechanism to properly maintain our skills.”
House Bill 4437 now moves to the Senate for further consideration.