SC Lawmaker Regulating Beyond The Grave

S.C. Rep. John King (D-York) is a funeral home director.  And like “Republican” funeral home director/ legislator Bill Sandifer (RINO-Oconee), he’s always looking out for No.1 at the S.C. State House. Forget tax cuts targeted to assist small businesses and individual taxpayers … or universal parental choice to introduce market-based…

S.C. Rep. John King (D-York) is a funeral home director.  And like “Republican” funeral home director/ legislator Bill Sandifer (RINO-Oconee), he’s always looking out for No.1 at the S.C. State House.

Forget tax cuts targeted to assist small businesses and individual taxpayers … or universal parental choice to introduce market-based pressure on a failing government-run school system.

No …

King has introduced legislation permitting funeral home directors (and embalmers) to hold hostage the mortal remains of deceased loved ones until families cough up every penny of the bill.

Specifically, King’s legislation (H. 4370) permits funeral homes to “refuse to release a dead human body to the custody of the person or entity who has the legal right to effect a release until any financial obligation related to services provided by the funeral home with respect to the dead human body have been fully satisfied.”

Wow … not even death can contain the regulatory reach of self-serving members of the S.C. General Assembly.

“By no means are funeral homes trying to hold a human body hostage,” King told The Nerve this week.

Really? What part of “refuse to release … until any financial obligation … (has) been fully satisfied” is confusing to King?

That’s about as clear as a Somali pirate ransom …

Funeral homes are businesses – and like other businesses they have recourses at their disposal when people stiff them on a bill. Legislating special protection strikes us as unnecessary, not to mention glaringly self-serving on King’s part.

Of course that means this legislation is likely to fly through the S.C. General Assembly – and specifically the House committee on labor, commerce and industry (LCI), which is chaired by Sandifer.

And in exchange for votes on this bill, we have no doubt King and Sandifer will be more than willing to scratch the backs of other self-serving South Carolina lawmakers.

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Frank Pytel December 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

If the funeral industry in this state was capitalist and not protectionist I would say fine.


CNSYD December 6, 2013 at 9:21 am

Sic Willie, wake up and smell the coffee. Ever heard of mechanic’s liens? How about the requirement (allegedly imposed by the SC Supreme Court) that says money changing hands at a real estate closing must be by money order, wire transfer or cashier’s check. Ever try to pay a traffic ticket with a personal check?

Nothing new here especially your dislike of Sandifer and your touting of the voucher scam.

nitrat December 6, 2013 at 9:22 am

Do they take credit cards?

jimlewisowb December 6, 2013 at 9:22 am

I think it is time for South Carolina to have a new annual award:

Cockroach of the Year, aka COY

It will be awarded to an individual cockroach, joined at the hip cockroaches or to an organization of cockroaches who have demonstrated extradionary skills in sodomizing taxpayers during the year

My nominees for 2013 are:

Stephen Goldfinch – making money off dead baby parts
Steve Benjamin – the Peter in the Peter Principal
Lillian McBride – exceptional utilization of her sole two brain cells to rip off taxpayers
Reynolds Williams and Greg Ryberg – living proof that cowboys humped buffaloes
Bobby Harrell – non-discriminating butt fucker of taxpayers young, old, disabled or dead
Glenn McConnell – a cockroach who cannot be insulted by calling him a butt fucker
Senator Leatherpecker – proof that even in death a cockroach is still alive
Nikki Haley – a Phoenix who has risen out of her own ashes from fires she starts herself
Joe Riley – hundreds of years of God’s wrath have not been able to destroy pristine marshes surrounding Charleston but Joe will with a Highway to Hell
DOT – a sub species of cockroaches known as leech cockroaches who specialize in sucking the blood out of taxpayers one gallon at a time

Arlen Cooper December 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

Wow! This could be the rudiments of a thesis for Political Science Doctrine candidates.

You know me December 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

Hey Randy, we all know something beyond the grave. Tom did NOT commit suicide. Be a man, if you know what that is, and step to the plate.

idiotwind December 6, 2013 at 9:24 am

regulation is not the appropriate label for legislation of this type. so why do you call it that?

Jesus H. Christ! December 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I wonder myself – is he trying to manipulate his dopey right wing readers? Or does he really not know better?

nitrat December 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm


Squishy123 December 6, 2013 at 9:26 am

Not a problem with this. I know a funeral home director who has been “stiffed” for thousands of dollars more than once for his services. Under this new legistlation, if you don’t pay, you don’t get mama back.

Squishy123 December 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Okay, since this has had negative feedback… we’ll give you mama, but we keep the head until the bill is settled.

venomachine December 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

reminds me of a Sam Kinison bit…

anon. December 6, 2013 at 9:33 am

What’s next, charging storage fees on the remains like a towed car???

Smirks December 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

As if funeral homes don’t already make a killing off of squeezing every last dime they can out of mourning relatives.

Squishy123 December 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

You could always compete with them and become the Walmart of the funeral business. Or you could sit back and bitch.

just another guy December 6, 2013 at 9:50 am

Funeral Homes are already protected. You can not close an estate or Probate it until the Funeral Home is paid in full. The reason they are doing this, I guess, is because many assets go outside the estate now, like IRA’s and Life insurance. But still, they make a killing, no pun intended and they already have protection in the state of SC

Marie Harrison December 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

Death and taxes.

SamAdams2010 December 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Its the families that cannot pay the burial bill and don’t have the money in the estates to hold hostage that this bill addresses. I’m only surprised the guy hasn’t figured out a way for the funeral directors to sell the meat to a grocery store to recover the unpaid bill.

FD December 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Not completely true. As a licensed practicing funeral director, the law doesn’t work like people think. If our bill is not paid, we can sue or file a judgement. Once awarded, you pay for it to be filed in the courts. I have already paid staff for a removal, paid my embalmer, paid for the fluid, supplies, etc used and then I have to invest $125-200 in the courts to try to recoupe the expenses already invested. The rule you refer to deals with a probated estate. Not all funeral homes make a huge profit like people believe. If you added up the cost of doing business along with taxes, we break even in most cases.

Centrist View December 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

Will the funeral home charge a storage fee?

Fastmouth December 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

I know of an instance where a lady went to the local funeral director, paid for her funeral upfront, the funeral director put the money in his bank, and at the end of the year, he sent her a 1099 for the interest (although small) that he earned off of her money. She told me that she questioned the funeral director, and apparently it’s all legal. Hard to believe!!!

xx December 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

Why is this not included in Obamacare?

The Colonel December 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Wait – So I can have Kornegay Funeral Home pick up the body, not pay them and they have to hold on to it until I do? Where do I sign up for this deal?

xx December 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm

OK – I’ve long thought I got “stiffed” when we paid the funeral home to bury my father one year ago. Unlike many people, I DID have the money for a proper service and burial. However, I politely questioned them on every line item. The first being $600 to transport the body 10 miles from the nursing home to the funeral home! When the total bill was $14,000, I asked what they did for those who didn’t have enough money. The response was, “We find a way to work with them.” To me this meant, the price varies according to what kind of car you drive and what you are wearing indicating your ability to pay.

Adam December 6, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Little known fact: Renuzit was a big lobby on this bill…

euwe max December 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I hope they let me get buried in the garden beside fluffy.

kenney December 7, 2013 at 11:26 am

I like the bill but there must be some amendments made. If the bill isnt satisfied either paid in full or arrangements made with insurance. Then both parties agree to mutually postpone the funeral until the bill is paid in full or payment arrangements are made. If the the bill is still unsatisfied for more than five days. Then the body will become property of the state and buried or cremated whatever each state performs. To many families play to many games.
Now the funeral bill…if each family had to write individual checks out of their own pockets for the hearse for the service….limo ride…caskets….programs…prayer cards…cemetery/crematory…death certificates… newspaper notices….church fees….sometimes pallbearers. Then you will really see how much the funeral director makes to embalm bodies with cancerous chemicals…lifting….pulling…phonecalls to all the above..rreceiving phone calls…paying respectable people to handle your love one. Who wants to go to grandma’s wake and have to use flashlights cause the bill isnt paid…or have to bring your own toilet paper with you??
I am a Funeral director…when my momma died. Even with a discount momma was put away top notch.


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