Professions and Occupations

CHAPTER 31. Funeral Services

Subchapter I. Board of Funeral Services

§ 3100. Objectives.

(a) The primary objective of the Board of Funeral Services, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public, specifically those persons who are the direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter, from unsafe practices and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered.

(b) The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency, and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall:

(1) Develop standards assuring professional competence.

(2) Monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board.

(3) Adjudicate at formal hearings regarding complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board.

(4) Promulgate rules and regulations.

(5) Impose sanctions where necessary against practitioners, both licensed and formerly licensed.

66 Del. Laws, c. 225, §  171 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 209, §§  1, 280 Del. Laws, c. 194, §  1

§ 3101. Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them under this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) “Board” shall mean the State Board of Funeral Services established in this chapter.

(2) “Burial” shall mean the interment of human remains.

(3) “Cremation” shall mean the process of burning human remains to ashes.

(4) “Division” shall mean the State Division of Professional Regulation.

(5) “Embalming” shall mean the disinfecting or preservation of a dead human body, entirely or in part, by the use of chemical substances, fluids, or gases in the body, or by the introduction of the same into the body by vascular or hypodermic injection, or by the direct application of the same into the organs or cavities.

(6) “Embalming room assistant” shall mean a person who has met all of the requirements, including all necessary training in blood borne pathogens standards, and who has received all necessary vaccinations related to the industry, to be able to perform their duties in the embalming or dressing room areas for the preparation of a deceased human remains. Such individual shall not possess the ability to embalm a decedent.

(7) “Funeral director” shall mean a person engaged in the care of human remains or in the disinfecting and preparing by embalming of human remains for the funeral service, transportation, burial, entombment or cremation, and who shall file all death certificates or permits as required by Chapter 31 of Title 16.

(8) “Funeral establishment” shall mean any place used in the care and preparation of human remains for funeral service, burial, entombment or cremation; said place shall also include areas for embalming, the convenience of the bereaved for viewing and other services associated with human remains. A funeral establishment shall also include a place or office in which the business matters associated with funeral services are conducted. Satellite funeral establishments existing as of May 12, 1988, shall not be required to include an area for embalming.

(9) “Funeral services” shall mean those services rendered for the disinfecting, embalming, burial, entombment or cremation of human remains, including the sale of those goods and services usual to arranging and directing funeral services.

(10) “Intern” shall mean a person, duly registered with the Board, engaged in training to become a licensed funeral director in this State under the direction and personal supervision of a state-licensed funeral director.

(11) “Nonresident funeral director” shall mean a funeral director licensed in another state, district, territory or foreign country.

(12) “Person” shall mean a corporation, company, association and partnership, as well as an individual.

(13) “Practitioner” shall mean a funeral director.

(14) “Protective hairstyle” includes braids, locks, and twists.

(15) “Race” includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and a protective hairstyle.

(16) “Student of mortuary science” shall mean a person registered in an official accredited Institution of Mortuary Science program.

(17) “Substantially related” means the nature of the criminal conduct, for which the person was convicted, has a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform 1 or more of the duties or responsibilities necessarily related to the provision of funeral services.

66 Del. Laws, c. 225, §  169 Del. Laws, c. 147, §  171 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  174 Del. Laws, c. 262, §  6480 Del. Laws, c. 194, §  183 Del. Laws, c. 13, § 21

§ 3102. Board of Funeral Services.

(a) There is created a State Board of Funeral Services which shall administer and enforce this chapter.

(b) The Board shall consist of 7 members appointed by the Governor who are residents of this State: Four of whom shall be funeral directors licensed under this chapter and 3 public members. The public members shall not be, nor ever have been, funeral directors, nor members of the immediate family of a funeral director, shall not have been employed by a funeral director, shall not have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to funeral directors; nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to funeral services. The public members shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each member shall serve a term of 3 years, and may succeed himself or herself for 1 additional term, provided that, where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may succeed himself or herself for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.

(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board for 2 consecutive terms; but, no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person, who has been twice appointed to the Board or who has served on the Board for 6 years within any 9-year period, shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 year has expired since such person last served.

(e) Any act or vote by a person appointed in violation of this section shall be invalid. An amendment or revision of this chapter is not sufficient cause for any appointment or attempted appointment in violation of subsection (d) of this section, unless such an amendment or revision amends this section to permit such an appointment.

(f) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency, or neglect of duty. A member subject to disciplinary hearing shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.

(g) A member shall be deemed in neglect of duty if he or she is absent from 3 consecutive meetings without good cause or if he or she attends less than 50% of regular business meetings in a calendar year.

(h) Each member of the Board shall be reimbursed for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel, and in addition shall receive compensation per meeting attended in an amount to be determined by the Division in accordance with Del. Const. art. III, §  9.

(i) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall:

(1) Hold elective office in any local, state, or national professional funeral services association.

(2) Serve as the head of a professional funeral services association’s political action committee.

(3) Have any financial interest in any funeral services college, school, or cemetery.

(j) Chapter 58 of Title 29 shall apply to all members of the Board.

(k) No member of the Board shall in any manner whatsoever discriminate against any applicant or person holding or applying for a license to practice funeral services by reason of sex, race, color, age, creed, or national origin.

(l) No member of the Board shall participate in any action of the Board involving, directly or indirectly, any person related in any way by blood or marriage to said member.

(m) No member of the Board shall be subject to, and all members of the Board shall be immune from, claims, suits, liability, damages, or any other recourse, civil or criminal, arising from any act or proceeding, decision or determination undertaken or performed, or recommendation made, so long as such member of the Board acted in good faith and without malice in carrying out the responsibilities, authority, duties, powers, and privileges of the office conferred by law upon the member under this chapter, or any other provisions of Delaware or federal law or rules or regulations, or duly adopted rule or regulation of the Board. Good faith is presumed unless otherwise proven and malice is required to be proven by the complainant.

66 Del. Laws, c. 225, §  167 Del. Laws, c. 368, §  2070 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  171 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 209, §§  3, 480 Del. Laws, c. 194, §  181 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 16

§ 3103. Organization; meetings; officers; quorum.

(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, and at such times as the President deems necessary, or at the request of a majority of the board members.

(b) The Board shall elect annually a President and Secretary. Each officer shall serve for 1 year, and shall not succeed himself or herself for more than 2 consecutive terms.

(c) A majority of members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business; and no disciplinary action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of at least 4 members of the Board.

(d) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded, and copies shall be maintained by the Division. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.

66 Del. Laws, c. 225, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  171 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  180 Del. Laws, c. 194, §  1

§ 3104. Records.

The Division shall keep a register of all approved applications for license as a funeral director, registration as an intern, and registration of establishment permits. The Division shall also complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the Board’s rules and regulations, complaints, hearings, and such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such register and records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.

71 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 209, §  580 Del. Laws, c. 194, §  1

§ 3105. Powers and duties.

(a) The Board of Funeral Services shall have the authority to do all of the following:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act of this State (Chapter 101 of Title 29). Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter.

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants and process all applications.

(3) Designate the written, standardized examination on funeral services, prepared by an independent testing service, recognized by the Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards, or its successor, and approved by the Division. The examination shall be taken by all persons applying for licensure, except those applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity.

(4) Designate a written, validated examination, prepared by an independent testing service and approved by the Division, based solely on the laws of Delaware governing the professional of funeral services. The Division shall administer the state examination.

(5) Provide for the administration of examinations, including notice and information to applicants.

(6) Establish minimum education, training and experience requirements for licensure as funeral directors.

(7) Establish minimum requirements, and issue permits for funeral establishments that meet the requirements of § 3117 of this title.

(8) Evaluate the credentials of all persons or establishments applying for a license to practice funeral services in Delaware, in order to determine whether such persons or establishments meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this chapter.

(9) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses of, all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure, and register persons who are fulfilling the licensure experience requirement under the personal supervision of a state-licensed funeral director.

(10) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal for those practitioners under 65 years of age, provided that, in establishing rules for continuing funeral services education, the Board shall consider potential economic hardship on single practitioners and other licensees, and shall not impose rules that are likely to place undue economic hardship on licensees. License renewal shall not consist of, nor be dependent upon, retesting for those practitioners under 65 years of age, provided that, in establishing rules for continuing funeral services education, the Board shall consider potential economic hardship on single practitioners and other licensees, and shall not impose rules that are likely to place undue economic hardship on licensees.

(11) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who previously has been licensed, certified or registered in another jurisdiction to practice funeral services, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicant for such acts or offenses.

(12) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning practitioners, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division for investigation pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29, and assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint.

(13) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this chapter, Chapter 101 of Title 29, and § 8735 of Title 29. Where such provisions conflict with this chapter, this chapter shall govern. The Board shall determine whether a practitioner shall be subject to a disciplinary hearing and, if so, shall conduct such hearing in accordance with this chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act.

(14) Where it has been determined, after a disciplinary hearing, that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed.

(15) Adopt and implement an inspection program for funeral establishments and crematoriums. Through the inspection program, the Board shall have the authority to:

a. Review all licenses for accuracy and refer any inaccuracies to the appropriate agencies for investigation and resolution.

b. Send written notification to any individual or entity who is in violation of any of the licensing regulations of the State, as an initial warning. If the violation is not corrected, it may be forwarded to the appropriate agencies for investigation and resolution.

(16) Regulate cremation and crematoriums.

(b) The Board of Funeral Services shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying those crimes which are substantially related to the provision of funeral services.

66 Del. Laws, c. 225, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  171 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 209, §§  6-1074 Del. Laws, c. 262, §  6580 Del. Laws, c. 194, §  1