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March 2014

Dear Members,

Heffner Denied Petition for Rehearing The Petition for Rehearing filed by the Appellees', Ernie Heffner et. al., has been Denied by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Appellees are down to their last effort, which is to seek review by the U. S. Supreme Court.

PAY YOUR FINES! Effective April 1, 2014, the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (State Board of Funeral Directors) will have the power to: suspend/revoke or deny a license for failure to pay any penalty, fee, interest or costs assessed against a licensee as a result of a disciplinary proceeding. In addition, the Bureau will have the power to impose a judgment for outstanding amounts in excess of $1,000 against such licensee in the form of a lien. Writs of Execution may be issued against any real or personal property, including after-acquired property.

Contact Information to Obtain An Apostille The contact person at the Pennsylvania Department of State is Winnie Houck. She can be reached at (717) 346-8571 or via email at whouck@pa.gov.

Requests for an Apostille can be obtained in person at the Pennsylvania Department of State, North Office Building, Room 210, Harrisburg, PA. Or you can mail your request to: Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, Room 210, North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0029. The cost is $15 for an Apostille.

For further information about obtaining an Apostille from the Department of State go to www.dos.state.pa.us.

Death Certificate Filing if Person Dies on An Airplane When a person dies in an airplane during a flight, the death certificate is filed at the place where the body is first removed from a moving conveyance. Source: Debra Romberger, Director of Vital Records.

Counsel for Boyd Myers How ironic that Karl Rominger, the lawyer for Boyd Myers, is under investigation by the district attorney's office for possibly misappropriating client funds. The Internal Revenue Service recently filed nearly $310,000 in tax liens against Rominger. He has voluntarily surrendered his Pennsylvania law license, according to the Cumberland County Bar Association. Myers who owned the former Myers funeral Home In Mechanicsburg was sentenced in January 2014 in Cumberland County court to 3-12 years in state prison on 558 charges that include deceptive business practices, insurance fraud, misapplication of entrusted property and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities. Approximately $500,000 in preneed monies was missing.

New Law Allows Disinterment of Veterans at National Cemeteries President Obama has signed, the Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act, that gives the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U. S. Department of the Army authority to disinter an ineligible veteran mistakenly buried in a national cemetery. Federal law prohibits individuals who "have committed a federal or state capital crime but were unavailable for trial due to death" from being buried in national cemeteries, according to the bill's sponsors.

Updated Best Practices for Cooperation Between Tissue Banks and Funeral Homes
The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB) have released updated guidelines to help donation professionals and funeral directors better work together to serve families that wish to donate the tissues or organs of a loved one who has died.

The new document, Best Practices for Cooperation Among Tissue Banks and Funeral Service Professionals, contains important changes that will help improve the working relationship between funeral directors and donation professionals. It places a very strong emphasis on communications between donation professionals, families and funeral directors.

It can be found on both the NFDA (www.nfda.org) and AATB websites (www.aatb.org). We encourage you to download the document and evaluate how you can put the recommendations contained in the document into practice in your firm.

Latest on Shipping Cremated Remains via Priority Mail Express Recently, NFDA representatives met with officials from the U. S. Postal Service (USPS) regarding how to make the shipping of cremated remains process as easy as possible for grieving families. They explained to USPS officials that because funeral directors are unable to estimate shipping costs of cremated remains, families must be billed after the shipping takes place. USPS agreed to consider creating a flat rate box that would fit a typical temporary container. They also agreed to consider creating a formula for other types of containers that would not fit in a standard flat rate box, so that funeral directors can estimate costs prior to shipment.

USPS is preparing an educational brochure about mailing cremated remains that they will be sending to all funeral directors within the coming weeks. This brochure will address the new USPS policy that went into effect in December 2013 and requires cremated remains to be sent by Priority Mail Express.

Former PA Funeral Director Pleads Guilty, Avoids Trial Benjamin Siar Jr., the former owner of Gundel Funeral Home in Conestoga, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft and fraud on February 24. Siar bilked at least 38 families out of more than $180,000 by failing to cremate bodies when he was supposed to and stealing money from insurance policies. He will face five to ten years in prison when he is sentenced.

Bereavement Air Fares American Airlines has announced that it would no longer offer bereavement fares. The policy change comes in the wake of the airline's merger with U. S. Airways which does not offer such fares.

Revisions to Federal Overtime Rules to Include Certain Salaried Workers On March 13, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum directing the Labor Department to propose rules that expand the number of employees who benefit from overtime pay. The rules would be aimed at salaried workers who make more than $455 a week and those who are ineligible for overtime because they are designated as management even though their supervisory duties are minimal.

The rules do not require congressional action but could take more than a year to implement. In his memorandum, President Obama directed the Labor Department to come up with a plan that would expand the number of workers eligible for overtime pay, to recommend new regulations that could increase the salary threshold for overtime eligibility, and to change the definition of what constitutes a supervisor. The salary-per-week limit separating those who get overtime and those who do not was increased to $455 in 2004 during the Bush administration. At the time, it had not been increased since the mid-1970's.

During a period of public comment, business groups will almost surely seek to pare it back by limiting the number of employees who might benefit from the change. This initiative could have significant financial ramifications for funeral service. We will review the proposed changes when they become available and keep you informed as this issue develops.

Recording of Death Certificates for Same-Sex Marriages in Ohio On December 23, 2013 U. S. District Court Southern District of Ohio Western Division issued a final order and declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, which declared Ohio's prohibition against same-sex marriage unconstitutional as it applies to death certificates. It means that when a gay couple gets married outside of Ohio in a state that recognizes gay marriage, and one of them dies, the other could be listed as the "surviving spouse" on Ohio death certificates.

According to the court, "Once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away, because the right to remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution." The court further states, "Therefore, under the Constitution of the United States, Ohio must recognize on Ohio death certificates valid same-sex marriages from other states."

Bill Introduced in U. S. House Would Expand Funeral Rule On March 12, the U. S. House of Representatives introduced H. R. 4213, "Funeral Rule Improvement Act of 2014," which would expand the FTC Funeral Rule to include all for-profit sellers of funeral or final disposition goods or services not now covered by the Funeral Rule. This would include all other non-traditional sellers of funeral or final disposition goods or services with the exception of religious organizations, state and local governments, cemeteries that do 25 or fewer burials a year and those non-profits who qualify under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Although religious cemeteries would be exempt under the proposed bill, it is unclear whether religious cemeteries managed by for-profit companies would be exempt. The current Funeral Rule essentially only applies to funeral homes, consumers who purchase funeral or final disposition goods or services from other third-party sellers are not protected.

According to John Fitch, senior vice president of advocacy for NFDA, this bill is "very different" from the Rush bill in 2011. "The Rush bill required the FTC to issue a separate rule for cemeteries and third-party sellers – a better approach but one that Republicans would not support. It also included all religious cemeteries. It also had quite extensive recording keeping requirements for cemeteries." The bill now goes to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade for consideration. Source: Reprinted with Permission from the March 13, 2014 edition of the Memorial Business Journal. A publication of the National Funeral Directors Association.

What is a part-time employee? There is no set number of hours an employee must work to be considered part-time. Part-time employees work fewer hours than a full-time employee on a continuing basis. It is the employer that sets the threshold for the number of hours an employee has to work to be considered full-time, and any schedule that falls below that schedule in number of hours would be considered part-time. Some common definitions of a full-time schedule include 40 hours per week or 37.5 hours per week; other employers have defined a full-time schedule with even fewer hours. Part-time employees may or may not be eligible for any benefits – that is a decision for each employer to make. However, it should be noted that the Affordable Care Act defines a full-time employee as an individual who on average works 30 or more hours per week.
Source: The SESCO Report March 2014.

Carriage Services to Buy Six Locations from SCI in the Northern Virginia and New Orleans markets for almost $55 million. The purchases are subject to Federal Trade Commission approval. The deal comes as a result of the FTC's mandate that SCI divest certain businesses as part of its buyout of Stewart Enterprises. According to Carriage Services' 8-K filing, David DeCarlo has been appointed as Vice Chairman of the Board and President of the Company.

4th Quarter 2013 Casketed Deaths

Source: March 2014 Newsletter Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America

State - PA

Oct-Dec 13 - 22,059
Jul-Sep 13 - 20,692
Apr-Jun 13 - 21,729
Jan-Mar 13 - 25,959
Oct-Dec 12 – 22,245
Jul-Sep 12 - 19,581
Apr-Jun 12 - 19,874
Jan-Mar 12 - 21,506

Actual State Deaths (As Reporter by CDC)

Source: March 2014 Newsletter Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America

State - PA

Apr-Jun 13 – 29,979
Jan-Mar 13 - 32,242
Oct-Dec 12 – 32,243
Jul-Sep 12 - 30,029
Apr-Jun 12 - 31,126
Jan-Mar 12 - 34,782

In Memoriam

William G. Malloy, 90, of Northeast Philadelphia, died February 12, 2014 at Holy Redeemer Hospice. He was the former owner and operator of the William G. Malloy Funeral Home, the oldest funeral home in Somerton, and a former chief inspector with the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Mary Beth Rabe Menzler, 54, died away at home in Donora on February 22, 2014. She was the owner and president of the James A. Rabe Funeral Home in Donora.
Edward W. Follweiler, 87, of Nazareth, died on February 25, 2014 in St. Luke's Hospital, Anderson Campus. He was the father of Jane Follweiler, the owner and funeral supervisor of the Schmidt Funeral Home in Nazareth.

Donald D. Graft, 85, a resident of Scottdale, died on February 26, 2014 in Excela Westmoreland Hospital. He was the father of Terence Graft, owner of the Kepple-Graft Funeral Home in Greensburg, and co-owner of the Graft-Jacquillard Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. in Scottdale.

Ashton B. T. Smith, Jr.``

Richard C. Thomas, 77, of Hughesville, died March 11, 2014 at the Gatehouse. He was a former partner of the McCarty-Thomas Funeral Home in Hughesville. He was the father of Kenneth G. Thomas, the funeral supervisor at McCarty-Thomas.

Frederick F. Feiser`` Mr. Feiser was a licensed funeral director and the past president of the Capital City Funeral Directors. Association. He was the father of Clark Feiser, PFDA Past President, and step-grandfather of Marty Wheeler, the current owner of Feiser Funeral Home, Inc. in New Oxford.

Complete obituaries are available on the PFDA website at www.pfda.org

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