AN ACT relative to interment of dead bodies.

SPONSORS: Sen. Fraser, Dist 4; Sen. Blaisdell, Dist 10; Rep. Arnold, Hills 20

COMMITTEE: Judiciary


This bill allows an immediate family member to be responsible for a dead body and to transfer such body for burial or cremation. Current law requires a funeral director, or designee, to be responsible for a dead body.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.


In the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-Seven

AN ACT relative to interment of dead.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Reference Change. Amend RSA 290:1-b to read as follows:

290:1-b Pronouncement of Death by Registered Nurses. If an anticipated death occurs in a hospital, a nursing home, a private home served by a home health care provider licensed under RSA 151, or a hospice, the registered nurse attending at the last sickness may pronounce the person dead and release the body [to the funeral director] in accordance with RSA 290:11 after having signed the death certificate on the designated line. If a contagious disease is known to be present at the time of death, that fact shall be indicated on the death certificate in accordance with rules adopted by the division of public health services, department of health and human services as provided in RSA 126:2.

2 Transfer of Dead Body. RSA 290:11 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

290:11 Release; Transfer of Body.

I. A dead body of a human being may be released or transferred from any residence, hospital, or other facility only to an immediate family member or to a funeral director, or designee. The person to whom the dead body is released shall be responsible for the completion of forms as required by RSA 290:12.

II. The body of any deceased person may be transferred to another town for preparation or for burial or cremation in accordance with paragraph I, provided that death was not sudden, or the result of violence, and provided that such body shall be returned to the town in which death occurred within 36 hours, or a permit for permanent removal, as required by this chapter, has been secured within that time. The person responsible for the body shall obtain a permit to transfer the body for burial or cremation.

3 By Whom. Amend RSA 290:12 to read as follows:

290:12 [By Whom] Information Supplied by Person Responsible for Transfer. Such transfer shall be made [under the direction of a funeral director] in accordance with RSA 290:11, and [he or his representative] the person responsible for the body shall leave with the institution from which or the person from whom such body is received, on forms supplied by the department of health and human services[, division of public health services], the name of the funeral director if the body will be transferred to a funeral director, the name of the person making the transfer[, his] and the person's address, the funeral director's license number if appropriate, and the date and hour such body was delivered to [him] the person responsible or the funeral director.

4 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.