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Bill that would strengthen funeral home regulation moves forward

Legislation slated for House debate next week
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DENVER — A piece of legislation that would strengthen the state agency that regulates funeral homes is moving forward and is expected to be debated in front of the full House of Representatives next week.

The bill, which would allow the Department of Regulatory Agencies to inspect and investigate the activities at a funeral home, was referred to the House after a 9-1 vote Thursday in support of the bill in the House Committee on Business Affairs and Labor.

“We're very pleased to be moving along in this legislative process with strong bipartisan support,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts, a Democrat who represents Eagle and Routt counties and is one of the bill’s primary sponsors.

Over the past four years, Denver7 Investigates has reported on misconduct at funeral homes in Eagle, Lake and Montrose counties that led to criminal charges.

Currently, DORA does not have the authority to inspect funeral homes, but places such as beauty salons can be investigated after receiving complaints.

“We’re hoping to prevent the terrible things that have happened in Colorado from ever happening again. What happened to families in Lake County and Eagle County and over in Montrose should never happen,” Roberts said. “But we found a loophole in the state law, and now we're closing it to make sure it doesn't happen.”

Roberts is hopeful the law will pass through the House and Senate and be signed into law by the governor later this year.

He also noted that some of the Denver7 stories were shown during the committee’s debate.

“I think we're trying to bring funeral homes in line with the way other businesses are inspected, and we've heard in (Denver7’s) reporting from the Department of Regulatory Agencies, as well as others that funeral homes were denying inspectors entry into their facilities even after serious complaints were coming through,” Roberts said. “We don’t want every business to be inspected all the time, but if there are complaints, somebody needs to be able to get in there and make sure that everything is up to par, especially on something so sensitive like a funeral home.”