Rep. Wakeman’s plan updates educational standards for funeral directors
RELEASE|May 15, 2020

Lawmaker highlights active role of funeral industry during COVID-19

State Rep. Rodney Wakeman, of Saginaw Township, this week testified before the House Regulatory Reform Committee in support of his plan that would update education requirements for Michigan funeral directors to keep pace with changing times.

Wakeman’s measure makes various changes to funeral service, including a new continuing education and bachelor’s degree requirement. Wakeman said the legislation stems partially 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.

“On the heels of increased complaints and subsequent inspections of Michigan’s funeral homes, we need to update the educational requirements to meet 21st century standards,” said Wakeman, who is in his 32nd year as a licensed funeral director. “In comparison to the standards already adopted by our Midwest neighbors, current state law is weak in funeral service education and is non-existent when it comes to continuing education. Michigan’s only mortuary school at Wayne State University in Detroit already teaches to a bachelor’s degree. My bill updates the code to match what students in Michigan have been taught to for nearly 30 years. Instituting a continuing education program will keep practitioners on top of changes throughout their careers.”

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan, Wakeman highlighted the increased role of the funeral industry.

“It takes well trained funeral professionals to know how to handle, transport, disinfect, treat remains and protect the public from the potential spread of harmful pathogens,” Wakeman said. “The unfortunate public health crisis we find ourselves in today is yet another reminder for the need to update the requirements. We need to make sure our funeral establishments are taking the necessary steps to protect public health.”

House Bill 4437 remains in the House Regulatory Reform Committee for further consideration.


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