SENATE BILL NO. 273
AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 31, TITLE 16, RELATING TO VITAL STATISTICS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Part III, Title 16 of the Delaware Code by deleting
Chapter 31 in its entirety and substituttng in lieu thereof the following:
CHAPTER 31. REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, DEATHS, MARRIAGES, DIVORCES,
ANNULMENTS AND ADOPTIONS
Subchapter I. General Provisions §3101. Definitions.
As used in this chapter:
"Vital Statistics" means the data derived from certificates and reports of birth, death, spontaneous fetal death, marriage, divorce or annulments, and related reports.
"System of vital statistics" means the registration, collection, preservation, amendment and certification of vital records; the collection of other reports required by this chapter; and activities related thereto including the tabulation, analysis and publication of vital statistics.
"Vital records" means certificates or reports of birth, death, marriage, divorce of annulment, and data related thereto.
"File" means the presentation of a vital record provided for in this chapter for registration by the Office of Vital Statistics.
"Registration" means the acceptance by the Office of Vital Statistics and the incorporation of vital records provided for in this chapter into its official records.
"Live Birth" is defined as the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception (irrespective of the duration of pregnancy) which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsations of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached. Heartbeats are to be distinguished from transient cardiac
contractions; respirations are to be distinguished from fleeting respiratory efforts or gasps.
"Spontaneous Fetal Death" or "Stillborn Fetus" is defined as a spontaneous death (i.e., not an induced termination of pregnancy) prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception. The death is indicated by the fact that after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. Heartbeats are to be
distinguished from transient cardiac contractions; respirations are to be distinguished from fleeting respiratory efforts or gasps.
"Dead body" means a human body or such parts of such human body from the condition of which it reasonably may be concluded that death recently occurred.
"Physician" means a person authorized or licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy pursuant to the laws of this State.
"Institution" means any establishment, public or private, which provides in—patient medical, surgical, or diagnostic care or treatment or nursing, custodial, or domiciliary care, or to which persons are committed by law.
"State Board" means Delaware State Board of Health. §3102. Supervision and enforcement of registrations.
The State Board has charge of the registration of births, deaths, marriages, divorces and fetal deaths and shall prepare the necessary methods, forms and blanks for obtaining and preserving such records and insuring the faithful registration of the same throughout this State and in the central Office of Vital Statistics.
The State Board is charged with the uniform and thorough enforcement of this chapter throughout the State and shall from time to time promulgate any additional forms and regulations that are necessary for this purpose.
§3103. Regulations of State Board; adoption and enforcement.
The State Board may adopt, promulgate, amend and repeal such regulations as may be consistent with law relative to this chapter, including regulations governing the conditions under which the bodies of persons dying from an infectious or communicable disease can be transported from any portion of the State to a crematorium for the purpose of cremation. The regulations shall be enforced by the State Board.
§3104. Central Office of Vital Statistics.
There is hereby established within the Division of Public Health an Office of Vital Statistics which shall install, maintain and operate the only system of vital statistics throughout this State.
The Office of Vital Statistics shall have branch offices in each county. The State Board shall designate one such branch as the central Office of Vital Statistics, and this branch shall be responsible for the supervision of the operation of the other vital statistics offices throughout this State.
§3105. State Registrar of Vital Statistics; duties.
(a) The Director of the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Social Services shall be the State Registrar and shall:
Direct and supervise the system of vital statistics and the Office of Vital Statistics and be custodian of its records.
Direct, supervise and control the activities of all persons when they are engaged in activities pertaining to the operation of the system of vital statistics.
Conduct training programs to promote uniformity of policy and procedures throughout the State in matters pertaining to the system of vital statistics.
Prescribe, with the approval of the State Board, furnish and distribute such forms as are required by this chapter and the rules and regulations issued hereunder, or prescribe such other means for transmission of data as will accomplish the purpose of complete and accurate reporting and registration.
Prepare and publish reports of vital statistics of this State and such other reports as he or she may deem necessary.
(b) The Delaware Health Statistics Center within the Bureau of Health Planning and Resources Management shall have responsibility for the statistical analysis of vital statistics data and shall prepare and publish vital statistics reports of this State. The State Registrar may establish or designate other offices in the State to aid in the efficient administration of the system of vital statistics.
The State Registrar may delegate such functions and duties vested in him or her to employees of the Office of Vital Statistics and to employees of any office established or designated under §3105(b) of this Title.
§3106. Employment of personnel and acquisition of equipment.
The Division of Public Health shall provide the Office of Vital Statistics with sufficient staff, suitable offices, and other resources for the proper administration of the system of vital statistics and for the preservation of its official records.
§3107. Reproduction of vital records; official seal for certification.
To preserve vital records, the State Registrar is authorized to prepare typewritten, photographic, electronic or other reproductions of certificates or reports in the Office of Vital Statistics. Such reproductions when
certified by the State Registrar shall be accepted as the original records.
The State Board shall adopt an official seal for purposes of certification. Every certificate or other official paper executed by the
State Registrar, in pursuance of any authority conferred by law, and bearing the seal of the State Board shall be received as evidence when duly certified by the State Board, under its seal, with the same force and effect as the original would, in law, be entitled to if produced in open court.
§3108. Form of certificates and reports.
In order to promote and maintain nationwide uniformity in the system of vital statistics, the forms of certificates and reports required by this chapter, or by regulations adopted hereunder, shall include as a minimum the items recommended by the Federal agency responsible for national vital statistics, subject, however, to approval of and modification by the State Board.
Each certificate, report, and other document required by this chapter shall be on a form or in a format prescribed by the State Registrar.
All vital records shall contain the date received for registration.
Information required in certificates or reports authorized by this chapter may be filed and registered by photographic, electronic, or other means as prescribed by the State Registrar.
§3109. Completion of certificates and reports.
Those individuals and/or institutions responsible for completion of certificates or reports according to this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder shall complete all items on the forms provided by the State Registrar. The State Registrar shall carefully examine the certificates and reports received in the Office of Vital Statistics, and if they are incomplete or unsatisfactory, shall require such further information as may be necessary to make the record complete and satisfactory.
No claim or cause of action shall arise and no judgment, damages, penalties, costs or other money entitlement shall be awarded against an individual or institution that furnishes vital statistics in accordance with this chapter.
§3110. Disclosure of records.
To protect the integrity of vital records, to ensure their proper use and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the system of vital statistics, the records and files of the Office of Vital Statistics shall be considered confidential matter and shall not be open to inspection, except as authorized by this chapter, and regulations adopted hereunder or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Regulations, adopted under this section shall provide for adequate standards of security and confidentiality of vital records and reports.
The State Registrar shall upon receipt of an application issue a certified copy of a vital record in his or her custody or a part thereof to the registrant, his or her spouse, children, parents, or guardian, or their
respective authorized representative. Others may be authorized to obtain certified copies when they demonstrate that the record is needed for the determination or protection of their personal or property rights or for genealogical purposes. The State Board shall adopt regulations to further define those who may obtain copies of vital records under this Chapter.
The State Board may authorize by regulation the disclosure of information contained on vital records for research purposes.
Subject to the provisions of this section, the State Registrar may, by agreement, transmit copies of records and other reports required by this Chapter to the federal agency responsible for national vital statistics and other offices of vital statistics outside this state when such records or other reports relate to residents of those jurisdictions or persons born in those jurisdictions. The agreement shall require that the copies be used for statistical and/or administrative purposes only and the agreement shall further provide for the retention and disposition of such copies. Copies received by the Office of. Vital Statistics from offices of vital statistics in other states shall be handled in the same manner as prescribed in this section.
Appeals from decisions of custodians of vital records, as
designated under authority of Section 3105, who refuse to disclose information, or to permit inspection or copying of records as prescribed by this section and regulations adopted hereunder, shall be made to the State Board whose decisions shall be binding upon such custodians.
When 72 years have elapsed after the date of birth or 40 years have elapsed after the date of death or marriage, the records of these events shall become public records and information shall be made available in accordance with regulations which shall provide for the continued safekeeping of the records.
(a) A fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both, shall be imposed on:
Any individual who willfully and knowingly makes any false statement in a certificate, record, or report required by this chapter, or in an application for an amendment thereof, or in an application for a certified copy of a vital record, or who willfully and knowingly supplies false information intending that such
information be used in the preparation of any such report, record, or certificate, or amendment thereof; or
Any Individual who without lawful authority and with the intent to deceive, makes, counterfeits, alters, amends, or mutilates any certificate, record, or report required by this chapter or a certified copy of such certificate, record, or report; or
Any Individual who willfully and knowingly obtains, possesses, uses, sells, furnishes, or attempts to obtain, possess, use, sell, or furnish to another, for any purpose of deception, any certificate, record, or report required by this chapter or certified copy thereof so made, counterfeited, altered, amended, or mutilated, or which is false in whole or In part or which relates to the birth of another person, whether living or deceased; or
Any employee of the State who willfully and knowingly furnishes or processes a certificate, or certified copy of a certificate, with the knowledge or intention that it be used for the purposes of deception; or
Any individual who without lawful authority possesses any certificate, record, or report, required by this chapter or a copy or certified copy of such certificate, record, or report knowing same to have been stolen or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
(b) A fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both, shall be imposed on:
Any individual who willfully and knowingly refuses to provide information required by this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder; or
Any individual who willfully and knowingly transports or accepts for transportation, interment, or other disposition a dead body without an accompanying permit as provided in this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder; or
Any individual who willfully and knowingly neglects or violates any of the provisions of this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder or refuses to perform any of the duties imposed upon him or her by this chapter or regulations adopted hereunder.
No employee of the Office of Vital Statistics or other State offices established or designated under §3105(b) of this Title shall be subject to, and such persons shall be immune from any claim, suit, liability or damages or any other recourse, civil or criminal, arising from any act or proceedings, decision or determination undertaken or performed while discharging any duty or authority under this chapter, so long as such person acted in good faith, without gross negligence, and within the scope of his or her duty or authority under this chapter or any other provisions of the Delaware law, federal law or regulations or duly adopted rules and regulations providing for the administration of this chapter, good faith being presumed until proven otherwise, with gross negligence required to be shown by the complainant.
Subchapter II. Registration Requirements and Procedures §3121. Registration of births.
(a) A certificate of birth for each live birth which occurs in this State shall be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics, or as otherwise directed by the State Registrar, within ten days after such birth and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.
(b) When a birth occurs in an institution or en route thereto, the person in charge of the institution or his or her designated representative shall obtain the personal data, prepare the certificate, secure the signatures required, and file the certificate as directed in §3121(a) of this Title or as otherwise directed by the State Registrar within the required ten days. The physician or other person in attendance shall provide the medical information required by the certificate and certify to the facts of birth within 72 hours after the birth. If the physician, or other person in attendance, does not certify to the facts of birth within the 72-hour period, the person in charge of the institution shall complete and sign the certificate.
(c) When a birth occurs outside an institution, the certificate shall be prepared and filed by one of the following in the indicated order of priority:
The physician in attendance at or immediately after the birth, or in the absence of such a person,
Any other person in attendance at or immediately after the birth, or in the absence of such a person,
The father, the mother, or, in the absence of the father and the inability of the mother, the State Registrar or a duly authorized representative.
(d) When a birth occurs on a moving conveyance within the United States and the child is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the birth shall be registered in this State and the place where it is first removed shall be considered the place of birth. When a birth occurs on a moving conveyance while in international waters or air space or in a foreign country or its air space and the child is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the birth shall be registered in this State but the certificate shall show the actual place of birth insofar as can be determined.
(e) (1) If the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth, or between conception and birth, the name of the husband shall
be entered on the certificate as the father of the child unless paternity has been determined otherwise by Family Court.
If the mother was not married at the time of either conception or birth or between conception and birth, the name of the father shall not be entered on the certificate without a Court Order from Family Court.
In any case in which paternity of a child is determined by Family Court, the name of the father and surname of the child shall be entered on the certificate of birth in accordance with the finding and order of the court.
If the father is not named on the certificate of birth, no other information about the father shall be entered on the certificate.
Either of the parents of the child, or other informant, shall attest to the accuracy of the personal data entered on the certificate in time to permit the filing of the certificate within ten days prescribed in this section.
The time within which a supplementary report furnishing information omitted from the original certificate may be returned for the purpose of completing the certificate shall not be more than six months from the date of birth. Certificates of birth completed by a supplementary report shall not be considered delayed or altered.
§3122. Infants of unknown parentage; foundling registration.
(a) When the State assumes the custody of a live born infant of unknown parentage, an officer of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families shall report on a form and in a manner prescribed by the State Registrar within five days to the Office of Vital Statistics the following information:
The date and place of finding;
Sex, race and approximate age of child;
Name and address of the person or institution with whom the child has been placed for care;
Name given to the child by the custodian of the child;
Other data required by the State Registrar.
(b) The place where the child was found shall be known as the place of birth and the date of birth shall be determined by approximation.
(c) The report shall constitute the certificate of birth.
(d) If the child is identified and a regular certificate of birth is found or obtained, the report shall be sealed and filed in the Office of Vital Statistics and may be opened only by court order.
§3123. Registration of deaths.
(a) A certificate of death for each death which occurs in this State shall be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics, or as otherwise directed by the State Registrar, within three days after death and prior to final disposition, and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.
If the place of death is unknown but the dead body is found in this State, the certificate of death shall be completed and filed in accordance with this section. The place where the body is found shall be shown as the place of death. If the date of death is unknown, it may be determined by approximation.
When death occurs in a moving conveyance in the United States and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the death shall be registered in this State and the place where it is first removed shall be considered the place of death. When a death occurs
on a moving conveyance while in international waters or air space or in a foreign country or its air space and the body is first removed from the conveyance in this State, the death shall be registered in this State but the certificate shall show the actual place of death insofar as can be determined.
The funeral director or person acting as such who assumes custody of the dead body shall file the certificate of death. He or she shall obtain the personal data from the next of kin or best qualified person or source available and shall obtain the medical certification from the attending physician or Medical Examiner.
The medical certification shall be completed, signed, and returned to the funeral director within 48 hours after death by the attending physician, except when an official death investigation is required by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In the absence of the attending physician the
certificate may be completed and signed by his or hen designated physician or the chief medical officer of the institution in which death occurred provided such individual has knowledge about the medical history of the case.
When an official death investigation is required pursuant to 29 Delaware Code, Section 4706(a), the Medical Examiner shall determine the manner and cause of death and shall complete and sign the medical certification.
If the cause of death cannot be determined within 48 hours after death, the attending physician or medical examiner shall file with the Office of Vital Statistics a pending certificate of death. When the cause of death is determined a revised certification of death shall be issued and presented to the funeral director or his or her agent, who in turn shall file the certificate with the Office of Vital Statistics.
When a death is presumed to have occurred within this State but the body cannot be located, a death certificate may be prepared by the State Registrar upon receipt of a Court Order which shall include the finding of facts required to complete the death certificate. Such a death certificate shall be marked "By Court Order" and shall show on its face the date of registration and shall identify the court and the date of decree.
§3124. Registration of spontaneous fetal death.
(a) Each spontaneous fetal death of 350 grams or more, or in the absence of weight, of 20 completed weeks gestation or more, calculated from the date the last normal menstrual period began to the date of delivery, which occurs in this State shall be reported within three days after delivery to the Office of Vital Statistics by filing a Fetal Death certificate. Induced terminations of pregnancy shall not be reported as spontaneous fetal deaths.
When a fetal death occurs in an institution, the person in charge of the institution or a designated representative shall prepare and file a Certificate of Fetal Death..
When a fetal death occurs outside an institution, the physician in attendance at or immediately after delivery shall prepare, and file a Certificate of Fetal Death. No person other than a physician may sign a Certificate of Fetal Death.
When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance at or shortly after the delivery, or when a fetal death occurs in a moving conveyance and the fetus is first removed from the conveyance in this State or when a fetal death occurs in this State and the place of fetal death is unknown, an investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shall be conducted to determine the cause and manner of the fetal death.
§3125. Registration of marriage.
(a) A record of each marriage performed in this State shall be filed with the Office of Vital Statistics and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section.
The official who issues the marriage license shall prepare the record on the form prescribed and furnished by the State Registrar upon the basis of information obtained from the parties to be married.
The person who performs the marriage ceremony shall certify the fact of marriage and, within five days following the day on which the marriage was solemnized, file the marriage license/certificate with one of the three Vital Statistics offices in this State.
§3126. Registration of adoptions; duty of Clerk of Court; old and new birth certificates.
Upon the issuance of a final decree of adoption, the clerk of the court in which the decree of adoption was made shall immediately file in the office of the State Registrar, on forms provided by the State Registrar for this purpose, a report setting forth the information required by §921 of Title 13, together with a certified copy of the final decree of adoption.
Upon receipt of the information, the State Registrar shall remove from his or her files the original certificate of birth and, after proper identification, shall place it in a confidential file which shall be accessible only upon court order. The State Registrar shall file a new
certificate setting forth the adopted name and sex of the child, together with the names of the adopting parents and the actual birth date and birthplace of the child. Certificates may be issued in accordance with §3110 of this Title.
The State Registrar shall file a new certificate of birth for any child born in Delaware who is legally adopted in another state upon receipt of a certified or exemplified copy of the court order of adoption from the clerk of the court of such other state, and shall issue a certificate as provided under §3110 of this Title.
In the event of a child born outside of the United States and who is adopted in Delaware and for whom no certificate of birth can be secured from the nation of birth, the State Registrar may file and issue a special certificate of birth in accordance with this chapter, provided the adopting parents can furnish evidence considered satisfactory by the State Registrar of the facts and circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.
§3127. Acknowledgement or establishment of paternity.
In cases of acknowledgement or establishment of paternity, the State Registrar, upon receipt of a court order, shall prepare an amended or new certificate of birth, as the case may be, consistent with the findings of the court. The fact that the father-and-child relationship was declared after the child's birth shall not be ascertainable from the amended or new certificate, but the actual place and date of birth shall be shown. The evidence upon which the amended or new certificate was made and the original birth certificate shall be sealed and filed and may be opened only upon court order.
§3128. Divorce or annulment registration for statistical purposes.
A record of each divorce or annulment granted by the Family Court in this State shall be filed by that court with the Office of Vital Statistics and shall be registered if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section. The record shall be prepared by the petitioner or his or her legal representative on a form prescribed and furnished by the State Registrar and shall be presented to the Family Court with the petition. In all cases
the completed record shall be a prerequisite to the granting of the final decree.
The Family Court shall complete and forward to the Office of Vital Statistics on or before the fifteenth (15) day of each calendar month the records of each divorce or annulment decree granted during the preceding calendar month.
Records of divorce are collected by the Office of Vital Statistics for statistical purposes only. Certified copies of a divorce decree may be issued by Family Court in the county in which the decree was granted.
§3129. Registration of birth, death, marriage, divorce or fetal death where registration has been neglected or omitted.
Nothwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the State Registrar, on the production of evidence satisfactory to him or her relative to a birth, death, marriage, divorce or fetal death, if for any reason registration has been neglected or omitted, may register any birth, death, marriage, divorce or fetal death which may have occurred when registration was not effective or which may from any cause have escaped registration.
§3130. Certificates as evidence.
Certificates filed within 6 months after the time prescribed therefor shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. Data therein pertaining to the father of the child are prima facie evidence only if the alleged father is the husband of the mother. The data pertaining to the father of the child are not evidence in any proceeding adverse to the interests of the alleged father or of his heirs, next of kin, devisees, legatees or other successors in interest if the father is not the husband of the mother and the paternity is not acknowledged.
§3131. Delayed or amended certificates; procedures; evidence.
A person born in this State may file or amend a certificate of birth after the time prescribed by this chapter upon submitting such evidence relative to the circumstances surrounding the birth as may be required by the State Registrar. In the case of a correction to the birth record of an
American Indian, the substantiating documentary proof may include, but shall not be limited to, an affidavit satisfactory to the State Registrar or any local registrar and signed by the Chief of the tribe that according to tribal records the person whose certificate is to be amended is a member of the tribe of the Chief whose signature appears on the affidavit,
Any certificate in the custody of the State Registrar upon which the information thereon is charged to be in error may be corrected or amended upon submitting such proof of error as may be required by the State Registrar.
Certificates accepted subsequent to 6 months after the time prescribed in this chapter for filing or certificates which have been amended after being filed with the State Registrar shall contain the date of the delayed filing or the date of amendment and shall be marked "delayed" or "amended", respectively.
A summary statement of the evidence submitted in support of the acceptance for delayed filing or amendment shall be endorsed on the certificate.
Such evidence submitted in support of a delayed or amended registration as may be retained by the State Registrar shall be kept in special permanent file.
The probative value of a delayed or amended certificate shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered for evidence.
§3132. Fee for issuance of certificates and searches.
The State Registrar shall receive a fee not to exceed $10 for each certified copy of a certificate or record, or for a search of the files or records when no copy is made, or for a copy or information provided for research, statistical, or administrative purposes. The fee shall be
established by the State Board to reflect the costs of doing such work.
The State Registrar shall upon request furnish any applicant with a heirloom certificate of birth for births registered in this State. Heirloom certificates shall be specially designed for framing and display. The name of the person shall be calligraphed on the heirloom certificate. The State Board shall receive a fee of $25 for heirloom certificates. Said fee shall be
apportioned as follows: $12.50 shall be deposited to the Delaware Children's Trust Fund to advance the purposes of that Fund and $12.50 shall be retained by the Department of Health and Social Services to offset the cost of certificates in the Office of Vital Statistics. Any excess funds shall be
deposited in a special account to be used for the Delaware Health Statistics Center.
The State Registrar shall furnish free of charge to the relative of a veteran, one time, a certified copy of the veteran's certificate of death providing that said certified copy is essential to the settlement of a claim involving the settlement of the veteran's affairs. All other copies shall be issued at the statutory fee.
Subject to §3110 of this Title, the Federal agency responsible for national vital statistics and other vital statistics offices outside this State may obtain transcripts or copies of certificates, without payment of fees.
The State Registrar shall keep an account of all fees received and turn the same over to the State Treasurer.
Subchapter III. Burial, Removal or Cremation of Dead Bodies.
§3151. Permit for removal, burial or other disposition; foreign permits;
prerequisites for permit.
When a death or a fetal death occurs or a dead body is found, the body shall not be disposed of until the Burial/Transit permit is completed. Said permit is required to accompany the body and is to be :
given to the sexton of the cemetery when the body is interred.
retained by the Funeral Director when the cemetery has no sexton.
retained with the ashes in cases of cremation, or by the Funeral Director if so desired.
§3152. Burial/transit permits for shipment of corpses — required.
No common carrier shall receive for shipment from any point within this State to any other point either within or without this State any dead human body, unless the Funeral Director or person acting as such presents a completed Burial/Transit permit as provided in §3151 of this Title.
§3153. Disinterment — rules and regulations.
No body or stillborn fetus shall be disinterred within the State of Delaware except upon a permit granted by the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. The forms of Disinterment Permits shall be prepared by the Office of Vital Statistics. Disinterment and removal must be conducted under the personal supervision of a licensed funeral director.
§3154. Authorization for disinterment and reinterment.
Authorization. A permit for disinterment and reinterment of a dead body or fetus shall be issued by the State Registrar upon receipt of a notarized application/authorization signed by the next of kin and the person who is in charge of the disinterment, or upon receipt of an order of a court of record of this state directing such disinterment, or upon notarized written application of the Attorney General to request a special disinterment permit for legal purposes.
Mass Disinterment_ancLReintennent Upon receipt of a court order, a
signed and notarized permission of the next of kin of all decedents, or a signed and notarized application for disinterment for legal purposes, the State Registrar may issue one (1) permit for disinterment and reinterment of all remains in a mass disinterment provided that, insofar as possible, the remains of each body be identified and the place of disinterment and reinterment specified.
Nature _pf Permit The authorization issued in accordance with the
statutes and regulations governing disinterment shall be permission for disinterment, transportation and reinterment.
Fee for Permit. The State Board shall receive a fee not to exceed $10 for each Disinterment/Reinterment permit issued.
§3155. Permits for disinterment of bodies buried in Kent or Sussex Counties before January 1, 1893.
The State Registrar of Vital Statistics through the central office or any of the county vital statistics offices, upon application to and the payment of the usual fee to any or either of them, shall issue a permit to any relative of any deceased person buried prior to January 1, 1893 and now remaining in private, family or old and neglected burying grounds in Sussex County and Kent County for the disinterment of the remains and the reinterment of the remains in public or private cemeteries or any other chosen or designated place in Kent County or Sussex County or without the State, the same as if the application had been made by a duly licensed undertaker. Upon obtaining the permit, the relative is vested with the same authority as a duly licensed undertaker in the disinterment and reinterment of the remains including the securing of vaults and providing for all other necessary arrangements in connection therewith.
§3156. Disinterment from condemned land.
The State Board shall modify the relax its regulations and restrictions relative to the disinterring and reinterring of dead bodies, including the securing of separate disinterment and transfer permits of the bodies in those cases where the bodies are in public or private burying grounds which have been condemned by this State or the United States Government for the purposes of public improvement, in order to enable the carrying into effect of complete removals in such cases to the full extent that the same can be accomplished, in the opinion of the State Board, by licensed undertakers under its supervision and without jeopardizing the public health.
§3157. Cremation; prohibited except in licensed crematory.
No person shall destroy or dispose of by burning in this State the body of an individual dead from any cause, except in a crematorium or crematory licensed for this express purpose and under the conditions provided in §§3158-3164 of this Title.
§3i58. Crematory; license for construction; requirements; inspection.
A person, firm organization or association desiring to acquire, erect or construct a crematory shall first obtain a license from the State Board after depositing with the State Board such blueprints giving construction details, plans of location or other information as are required.
The crematory shall be so constructed as to be able to reduce to ashes a body so that there shall remain not more than 5 percent of the weight of the body immediately after death. It shall not be located, managed or conducted at any time in such a way as to be a public nuisance.
The crematory shall be subject at all times to inspection by the State Board and by such officers of the State, legal or police departMents as may desire to inspect it.
§3159. Permit for cremation; issuance, retention and inspection.
A body may be cremated only after the preparation of a special cremation permit signed by the chief medical examiner or an assistant or deputy medical examiner. In the presentation of the cremation permit to the chief medical examiner or his representative for signature, the permit must be accompanied by a death certificate signed by the attending physician and by a cremation authorization signed by the next of kin or legal representative of the deceased. The signature of the chief medical examiner or his
representative to the cremation permit shall constitute his affirmation that there is no medical reason why the cremation should not take place. The chief medical examiner or an assistant or deputy medical examiner shall have the authority to hold the remains of the deceased pending any investigation into the cause and manner of death.
One copy of the cremation permit shall be retained by the person, firm, corporation or association conducting the crematory and shall be produced for inspection or other purposes when asked for by the inspecting authority. A second copy of the cremation permit shall accompany the death certificate when it ts filed in the Office of Vital Statistics.
§3160. Report of cremation.
Within 24 hours after the cremation is completed a report indicating the name of the individual, his or her address while alive, the date and cause of death, the names of the individuals signing the permit, the date of the cremation and the disposal of the ashes shall be forwarded by the person in charge of the crematory to the central Office of Vital Statistics.
§3161. Delivery, transportation and disposal of ashes.
The ashes resulting from the cremation of a body may be delivered by the attendants of the crematory to any member of the family of the deceased designated to receive them or to the person arranging for the cremation. After this delivery, they may be transported in any way in the State and disposed of in such a way as is desired by the person receiving them.
§3162. Witnesses at cremation.
A representative of the family or some individual accredited to act as representative of the family of the individual being cremated may be present at the time the cremation is being carried out.
§3163. Permit where death occurs in this State and cremation takes place
The provisions of §3159 of this Title, respecting the signatures of the chief medical examiner or an assistant or deputy medical examiner and by the Attorney General or a deputy attorney general, are required in respect of the cremation of the body of an individual dying in the State but removed to any other state for the purpose of cremation.
§3164. Cremation in this State when death occurred elsewhere.
The cremation in this State of the bodies of persons dying in other states is permissable if all the legal requirements of the state in which the death occurred have first been complied with.
Section 2. Severability
If any clause, sentence, section, provision or part of this Act shall be adjudged to be Unconstitutional or invalid for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgement shall not impair, invalidate or affect the remainder of this Act which shall remain in full force and effect.
Section 3. Revealing Clause
All laws and parts of laws in conflict herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.
Section 4. Effective Date
This Act shall become effective 180 days after its passage.
Approved June 25, 1992.