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NEW LEGISLATION
AFFECTING
INDIANA'S PIONEER CEMETERIES
 
House Bill 1241 (now Public Law 155) goes into effect 07/01/2002.  HB 1241, which establishes procedures to be followed when removing human remains from a cemetery, was introduced 01/14/2002 by Rep. Martkt Lyle in response to the INPCRP's efforts to make the Legislature aware of abuses that were taking place in the courts insofar as property owners relocating small family cemeteries under questionable circumstances, including not being title owners of the subject cemetery property.  Having survived both the House and the Senate, the Bill was signed into law by Gov. O'Bannon on 03/27/2002.

The amendments to IC 23-14-57 by Public Law 155 are summarized as follows (as pertains to cemeteries and burial sites::

  • Defines "removal" as disinterment, disentombment, or disinurnment of the remains of a deceased human.
  • Limits removal of such remains to situations in which the following have been obtained:
    • Must have a a written order of issued by the state department of health; AND
    • Must have the written consent of the owner of the cemetery or the owner's representative; AND
    • Must have the written consent of the spouse of the deceased OR the parents of the deceased (in the case of a deceased minor child) OR a court order (the latter would apply in situations in which neither the spouse nor parents of the deceased were still living);
  • Before issuing the above-referenced written authorization, the State Department of Health shall:
    • Obtain written evidence of the legal ownership of the property from which the remains will be removed. [This is new!]
    • Send written notice to the department of natural resources, division of historic preservation and archeology, of the time, date, and place from which the remains will be removed. [This is new!]
    • Obtain written evidence that a licensed funeral director has agreed to be present at the removal and at the reinterment, reentombment, or reinurnment of the remains; and will cause the completed order of the state department of health to be recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county where the removal occurred. [This is new!]
    • Obtain written evidence that a notice of the proposed removal has been published at least five (5) days before a written order is issued by the state department of health in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the removal will occur. [This is new!]
    • Obtain a copy of the written consent required under subsection (b)(3); or a court order obtained by a person under subsection (d). [This is new!]
    • If the written consent of the spouse of the deceased or the parents of the deceased in the case of a deceased minor is not available, a person who has made a request under this section to the state department of health may petition a court to determine whether to waive the consent requirement of subsection (b)(3). In determining whether to waive the requirement, the court shall consider the viewpoint of any issue (as defined in IC 29-1-1-3) of the deceased [i.e., descendants]. In a proceeding under this subsection, the court may not order the disinterment, disentombment, or disinurnment of the remains of a deceased human. [This is new!]
  • If the human remains are on property owned or leased by a coal company, the remains of a deceased human may be removed from a cemetery by a coal company if the coal company obtains a court order authorizing the disinterment, disentombment, or disinurnment. Before issuing a court order under this subsection, a court must conduct a hearing and be satisfied as to the following:
    • That the property is owned or leased by the coal company. [This is new!]
    • That the coal company has obtained the written consent of the spouse of the deceased or the parents of the deceased in the case of a deceased minor child authorizing the disinterment, disentombment, or disinurnment. If the consent is not available, the court may waive the requirement after considering the viewpoint of any issue (as defined in IC 29-1-1-3) of the deceased [descendants]. [This is new!]
    • The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology must receive at least five (5) days written notice of the time, date, and place of any hearing under this subsection. The notice must describe the proposed place from which the remains will be removed. [This is new!]
    • A licensed funeral director must agree to be present at the removal and at the reinterment, reentombment, or reinurnment of the remains; and cause the completed order of the state department of health to be recorded in the office of the county recorder of the county where the removal occurred. [This is new!]
    • The coal company must cause a notice of the proposed removal to be published at least five (5) days before the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the removal will occur. [This is new!]
    • That the coal company will notify the department of natural resources, division of historic preservation and  archeology, after the hearing of the proposed time and date when the remains will be removed. [This is new!]
  • The state department of health may adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to implement this section.

House Bill 1074 (now Public Law 177) goes into effect on 07/01/2001.  HB 1074 was introduced on 1/8/2001 by Rep. Markt Lytle as legislation concerning falconry and trapping.  On 2/8/2001, this bill passed the House of Representatives and was referred to the Indiana Senate.  On 2/15/2001, the Senate referred the bill to a "Committee of One" (meaning the original sponsor, Rep. Lytle), whereupon it was apparently overhauled to concern the assessment of cemetery land.  HB 1074 passed the Senate on 03/27/2001 and was referred back to the House, where it was voted on on 04/29/2001 and was signed into law by the Governor on 05/10/2001.

Public Law 177 is summarized as follows:

Cemeteries and burial grounds.
  • Provides that property that is classified by the director of the division of historic preservation and archeology as cemetery land shall be assessed for property tax purposes at $1 per acre, unless the cemetery is less than one acre in which case is shall be assessed in the amount of $1.
  • Establishes procedures and conditions to have property classified as cemetery land.
  • Requires the owner of the classified cemetery land to allow family members and descendants of persons buried in the cemetery to have at least one day each year to visit the cemetery.
  • Allows the division to record cemeteries and burial grounds in each county.
  • Provides that property development near a cemetery or burial ground must follow certain procedures.

  • Adds burial grounds to the property protected under the cemetery mischief law.


    House Bill 1184 went into effect July 1, 2000.  After successfully passing the Indiana House of Representatives and the Senate during the 2000 General Assembly session, the Bill was signed into law by the Governor in March 2000.  That new statute can be summarized as:
    Provides that the department of natural resources (DNR) alone or with the assistance of certain entities may survey and register all cemeteries and burial grounds in Indiana in a registry that the DNR establishes and maintains.  Allows the DNR to accept donations and establish a trust fund for the cemetery survey.  Requires a person who wishes to disturb the ground within 100 feet of a recorded cemetery or burial ground for erecting, altering, or repairing a structure to submit a development plan to the DNR for approval according to standards established by rule.  Provides a separate approval procedure for plans of governmental entities.  Requires a person who records any interest in property where a burial ground or cemetery is known to be located to also record a survey showing the approximate location of all human remains.  Requires a person who wishes to transfer property containing a burial ground or cemetery to deliver a disclosure document to the transferee and establishes the form of the disclosure document which the ransferor must record.  Allows a person having a right of interment, entombment, or inurnment in a family burial plot to transfer that right through sale or another method.  Provides that it is a misdemeanor to disturb, deface, or damage a burial ground (current law applies only to cemeteries).


    House Bill 1522 (Public Law 100) went into effect July 1, 1999.  The new statutes can be summarized as:
    Provides various measures to preserve cemeteries. Requires a person who lawfully removes a grave memorial to file with the county recorder certain information pertaining to the grave memorial. Provides that a person may not buy or sell certain items that have been removed from a cemetery {specifically includes grave memorials, grave artifacts, grave ornamentation, cemetery enclosures or other commemorative item.}. Provides that a person who disturbs the earth for agricultural purposes is not exempt from committing cemetery mischief. Provides that cemetery mischief includes disturbing, defacing, or damaging certain cemetery items. Prohibits a person from recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally damaging personal property contained in a structure or located at a cemetery or a facility used for memorializing the dead. Provides that cemetery mischief is a Class A misdemeanor. Enhances the penalty for the offense to a Class D felony if the pecuniary loss is at least two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500). Eliminates certain penalties for violations of cemetery preservation laws. In certain circumstances, exempts cemetery owners and owner of grave memorials from the cemetery preservation law {meaning owners of modern-day, active cemeteries}. Provides that county recorders are not obligated to acquire special equipment to record grave memorial information and provides standardized forms for filing this information.

    Thanks for your concern for saving Indiana's endangered pioneer cemeteries.
    Last modified: April 4, 2001.

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