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May 1, 2024

House Passes Bill to License Funeral Industry Workers

Bipartisan bill would ramp up the licensure requirements for funeral professionals to help prevent future tragedies 

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation to establish licensure of funeral professionals in Colorado. SB24-173, sponsored by Representative Brianna Titone, would align Colorado with the 49 other states that already require education, certification and licensure of those who work as funeral directors, mortuary scientists, cremationists and embalmers.

“We’re the only state in the nation that does not require proper licensure for funeral professionals – it’s time to fix that to ensure our funeral homes and crematories are safe and operating legally,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “This bill would help ensure Colorado funeral homes and crematories have proper oversight from licensed professionals. Colorado has been at the center of many egregious and heartbreaking instances of fabricated cremation records and the mishandling of bodies. Colorado’s public health and safety depends upon our action which will ensure every funeral home and crematory in our state is operated by a licensed professional.” 

SB24-173 would establish licensure of funeral professionals in Colorado. Currently, Colorado is the only state in the nation without licensure for directors and employees of the funeral industry, and this lack of oversight and training has resulted in numerous tragic cases of funeral home mismanagement, mistreatment of human remains, and hundreds of impacted family members. This bill passed the House by a vote of 59 to 3. 

This bill would require an individual to obtain a license to practice as a funeral director, a mortuary science practitioner, an embalmer, a cremationist, or a natural reductionist starting January 1, 2027. To be eligible for a license, a person must have graduated from an accredited educational institution for that profession, passed the national board examination, completed an apprenticeship, and passed a criminal background check. 

Those currently working in the industry can obtain a provisional license by showing they have worked at least 4,000 hours in the field, completed an apprenticeship, and passed a criminal background check, and after two years will qualify for full licensure. 

In addition to SB24-173, another bill moving through the legislature (HB24-1335) would require recurring inspections of state-operated funeral homes and crematories. 

In recent years, several funeral homes and operators in Colorado have been at the root of disturbing instances of mishandling human remains and bodies. These bills aim to add consistent regulation of Colorado’s funeral home industry to ensure public health and safety.

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