Kansas Senate Bill 389 is looking to amend K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 17-1301c, an act concerning cemetery corporations. Repealing the existing definition for the verbiage sepulture.
The word sepulture dates back to the 14th century, and is typically defined as a place of a burial. The new act requests to change the definition to:
“Purposes of sepulture” includes, but is not limited to, the interment of human or pet remains; cemetery roadways, easements, walkways, features and other decorative improvements; cemetery offices, maintenance facilities and other such improvements; mausoleums, columbariums and other above-ground interment spaces; facilities for visitation, committal or funeral services; mortuary and embalming facilities; and other such purposes and uses necessary or incidental thereto.
This new definition expands the word sepulture to include a plethora of uses ranging from walkways to embalming facilities. According to Mary Sabatini, legislative and communications director for Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning in an interview with the Kansas Star “To put it plainly, this new definition might allow a building to go up two feet from your plot, which you bought to lie-in-rest next to your parents.”
Christopher Holland, owns two cemeteries and is the managing funeral director for Penwell-Gabel Cremations, Funerals & Receptions in Olathe, wrote to Denning saying “In no way does the term refer to facilities of commercial enterprise, such as facilities for visitation and funeral services, or mortuary and embalming facilities.”
“I stand before you to represent the countless people buried in cemeteries all across Kansas who purchased property in these cemeteries with the intention of having a peaceful final resting place without interference from commercial enterprise.”
It’s not clear why this new adaptation of the would sepulture was brought to the senate, but it’s clear there is fear of corporate involvement. Trying to change the landscape of cemeteries, which are clearly and legally defined at this point.