Quinn Signs Cemetery Oversight Law

Law gives committee power to levy fines

By Andrew Greiner
|  Monday, Jan 18, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 AM CDT
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"Special Place In Hell" For Grave Robbers

Getty Images / Scott Olson

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed the state's Cemetery Oversight Act into law.

Quinn signed the law, which creates a regulatory structure for the Illinois funeral and cemetery industries and provides oversight and regulation over cemeteries in the state, Sunday with state senators gathered. 

The new law comes after former workers last year allegedly dug up graves in a scheme to resell burial plots at Burr Oak Cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Alsip. Quinn's office says the new law includes reforms and recommendations from the state's Cemetery Oversight Task Force.

"We'd like to think this is an isolated incident (but) we don't know because no one's been watching," Sen. Donne Trotter, the bill's sponsor,   who also has family buried at Burr Oak, told the Chicago Tribune. "We cannot legislate morality, but as lawmakers ... it is our responsibility and our duty to ensure that those that provide services in this state operate under regulations, operate with oversight."

The governor says with the new law, "bereaved families will have a place to turn if they are not satisfied with the services provided by cemeteries, funeral directors and embalmers." The department will be able to conduct audits and issue fines for infractions such as poor grounds upkeep and unprofessional conduct.
 

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