Chapter 4767: CEMETERY REGISTRATION

4767.01 Cemetery registration definitions.

As used in sections 4767.01 to 4767.08 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Cemetery," "interment," "burial right," "entombment right," and "columbarium right" have the same meanings as in section 1721.21 of the Revised Code.

(B) "Political subdivision" means one or more municipal corporations, townships, or other bodies corporate and politic authorized to operate and maintain a cemetery under the law of this state.

(C) "Division of real estate" may be used interchangeably with, and for all purposes has the same meaning as, "division of real estate and professional licensing."

(D) "Superintendent" or "superintendent of the division of real estate" means the superintendent of the division of real estate and professional licensing of this state. Whenever the division or superintendent of real estate is referred to or designated in any statute, rule, contract, or other document, the reference or designation shall be deemed to refer to the division or superintendent of real estate and professional licensing, as the case may be.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.01

Effective Date: 09-22-2000

4767.02 Registration required - duties of division of real estate in department of commerce.

(A) Except as otherwise provided in division (C) of this section, no person, church, religious society, established fraternal organization, or political subdivision of the state shall own, operate, or maintain a cemetery unless the cemetery is registered pursuant to section 4767.03 of the Revised Code.

(B) The division of real estate in the department of commerce shall perform all of the following duties:

(1) Adopt, amend, and rescind rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to carry out sections 4767.02 to 4767.04 of the Revised Code governing the registration of cemeteries;

(2) Prescribe the form and content of all applications to be used for registration and renewal of registration pursuant to section 4767.03 of the Revised Code;

(3) Review applications for registration and issue registration certificates to cemeteries that meet the qualifications for registration pursuant to sections 4767.03 and 4767.04 of the Revised Code;

(4) Collect all fees related to the registration and renewal of registration certificates for cemeteries;

(5) Maintain a written record of each cemetery registered with the division, which shall include such documentation as required in division (A) of section 4767.04 of the Revised Code. The record shall be available for inspection by the public and copies shall be made available pursuant to division (B) of section 149.43 of the Revised Code.

(6) Revoke the registration of any cemetery owner or operator convicted of a violation of section 1721.21 or 1721.211 of the Revised Code immediately upon receipt of notice of the conviction pursuant to section 119.06 of the Revised Code;

(7) Hire all division personnel necessary to implement this chapter;

(8) Prohibit the sale of the assets or stock of a cemetery by refusing to issue a registration certificate to the purchaser until the dispute resolution commission has received audited financial statements audited by a certified public accountant showing to the commission's satisfaction that all current funds required to be deposited and maintained pursuant to sections 1721.21 and 1721.211 of the Revised Code have been deposited and maintained;

(9) With the dispute resolution commission's advice and consent, subpoena cemetery personnel to attend hearings before the commission.

(C) Sections 4767.02 to 4767.04 of the Revised Code do not apply to or affect a family cemetery or a cemetery in which there have been no interments during the previous twenty-five calendar years. As used in this division, "family cemetery" means a cemetery containing the human remains of persons, at least three-fourths of whom have a common ancestor or who are the spouse or adopted child of that common ancestor.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.02

Effective Date: 10-20-1999

4767.03 Applying for registration.

(A)

(1) The owner or the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of a cemetery shall apply to the division of real estate in the department of commerce to register the cemetery on forms prescribed by the division. With the application, the applicant shall submit the documentation required in division (A) of section 4767.04 of the Revised Code and a registration fee of twenty-five dollars for one cemetery, forty dollars for two cemeteries, and fifty dollars for three or more cemeteries, except that no fee shall be required of any political subdivision.

(2) The director of commerce, by rule adopted in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, may reduce the amount of the registration fee required by this section in any year if the director determines that the total amount of funds the fee is generating at the amount specified by this section exceeds the amount of funds the division of real estate and the Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission created by section 4767.05 of the Revised Code need to carry out their powers and duties under this chapter. If the director so reduces the amount of the registration fee, the director shall reduce it for all owners or other persons required to pay the fee under division (A)(1) of this section and shall require that the reduced fee be paid according to the number of cemeteries owned, operated, or maintained as required under that division. If the director has reduced the fee under division (A)(2) of this section, the director may later raise it up to the amounts specified in division (A)(1) of this section if, in any year, the director determines that the total amount of funds the fee is generating at the reduced amount is insufficient for the division of real estate and the Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission to carry out their powers and duties under this chapter.

(B) Upon receipt of the completed application form, documentation, and, if required, registration fee, the division of real estate shall issue a certificate of registration to the applicant. The applicant shall display the certificate in a conspicuous place on the premises of the cemetery for which the registration was obtained, except that, if the applicant is the governing body of a political subdivision or person acting on behalf of that governing body, the certificate shall be kept on file and be available for public inspection at the office of the governing body.

(C) Except as otherwise provided in this division, each registration issued pursuant to this section shall expire annually on the thirtieth day of June and may be renewed. The renewal fee shall be the same as the initial registration fees prescribed in division (A) of this section. The registration of a cemetery operated and maintained by a political subdivision shall not expire unless the political subdivision ceases to operate and maintain the cemetery. A political subdivision operating and maintaining a cemetery is not required to renew or update the registration of that cemetery unless there is a change in the information required under division (A) of section 4767.04 of the Revised Code or unless additional land is acquired to increase the size of the cemetery.

(D) All registration and renewal fees collected pursuant to this section shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the division of real estate in the department of commerce to be used by the division to carry out its powers and duties under this chapter and by the Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission created by section 4767.05 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.03

Effective Date: 09-22-2000

4767.031 Registration of persons engaged to sell interment rights.

(A) The owner or the person responsible for the operation of each cemetery required to register under section 4767.03 of the Revised Code shall provide the division of real estate in the department of commerce, on a form prescribed by the division, at the same time the owner or other person applies for registration or renewal of registration as required by section 4767.03 of the Revised Code, a list of the names and residence addresses of all persons employed or otherwise engaged by the cemetery to sell interment rights. The provision of this information constitutes the registration of these persons to sell interment rights. In order for an independent contractor to sell interment rights for a cemetery, the cemetery shall sponsor and register the independent contractor with the division. More than one cemetery may sponsor and register the same independent contractor.

(B) The owner or the person responsible for the operation of each cemetery required to register under section 4767.03 of the Revised Code shall provide the division with a revised list of the names and residence addresses of all persons employed or otherwise engaged by the cemetery to sell interment rights within the calendar quarter immediately following the date of the termination of the cemetery's relationship with an existing salesperson or the commencement of a relationship with a new salesperson. As used in this division, "calendar quarter" means the three-month period that commences on the first day of each January, April, July, and October.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.031

Effective Date: 10-20-1999

4767.04 Qualifications of registrants.

(A) To qualify a cemetery for a certificate of registration, the applicant shall submit to the division of real estate the following information:

(1) The name of the cemetery;

(2) The street address, city, village, or township, and county where the cemetery is located, and the mailing address if different from the street address;

(3) The name and address of the person who owns the cemetery;

(4) The name and address of the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery;

(5) A copy of the most recent annual report of the cemetery if required by the division of real estate pursuant to section 1721.211 of the Revised Code or if required by the Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission. If the cemetery is owned by a cemetery company or association, a copy of the annual report for the previous year of all of the assets and investments of the endowment care trust of the company or association as prepared pursuant to section 1721.21 of the Revised Code shall be submitted to the division.

(B) If any of the information required in division (A) of this section changes at any time, the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery shall submit written notification of the change to the division within thirty days of the change occurring.

(C) In addition to satisfying the requirements set forth in divisions (A) and (B) of this section, if a political subdivision intends to acquire additional land to increase the size of an existing cemetery that it is operating and maintaining or intends to open a new cemetery, its governing body shall notify the division at least thirty days before the acquisition or opening to renew the registration of the existing cemetery or to register the new cemetery.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.04

Effective Date: 09-22-2000

4767.05 Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission.

(A) There is hereby created the Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission, which shall consist of nine members to be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate as follows:

(1) One member shall be the management authority of a municipal, township, or union cemetery and shall be selected from a list of four names submitted to the governor. Two of the four names shall be submitted by the Ohio township association and two names shall be submitted by the Ohio municipal league.

(2) Four members shall be individuals employed in a management position by a cemetery company or cemetery association. Two of the four members shall be selected from a list of four names submitted to the governor by the Ohio association of cemeteries and two shall be selected from a list of four names submitted by the Ohio association of cemetery superintendents and officials.

(3) Two members shall be employed in a management position by a cemetery that is owned or operated by a religious, fraternal, or benevolent society and shall be selected from a list of four names submitted by the Ohio association of cemetery superintendents and officials.

(4) Two members, at least one of whom shall be at least sixty-five years of age, shall be representatives of the public with no financial interest in the death care industry.

Each member of the commission, except for the two members who represent the public, shall, at the time of appointment, have had a minimum of five consecutive years of experience in the active administration and management of a cemetery in this state.

(B) Within ninety days after the effective date of this section, the governor shall make initial appointments to the commission. Of the initial appointments, two shall be for terms ending one year after the effective date of this section, two shall be for terms ending two years after that date, two shall be for terms ending three years after that date, and three shall be for terms ending four years after that date. Thereafter, terms of office shall be for four years, with each term ending on the same day of the same month as did the term that it succeeds. Each member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. Vacancies shall be filled in the manner provided for original appointments, with each appointee, other than a representative of the public, being appointed from a list of two names submitted to the governor by the association or organization that was required to nominate candidates for initial appointment to the position that has become vacant. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration date of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of that term. A member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until the member's successor takes office or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. No person shall serve as a member of the commission for more than two consecutive terms, excluding any term served to fill an initial appointment to a term of less than four years or an unexpired term caused by a vacancy.

(C) The commission annually shall elect from among its members a chairperson, vice-chairperson, and secretary, each of whom shall serve a term of one year in that office. The commission shall meet at least four times a year. Additional meetings may be called by the chairperson, or by the vice-chairperson when the chairperson is disabled, or by a majority of the members of the commission. A majority of the members constitutes a quorum to transact and vote on business of the commission.

The chairperson or vice-chairperson may:

(1) Administer oaths;

(2) Issue subpoenas;

(3) Summon witnesses;

(4) Compel the production of books, papers, records, and other forms of evidence;

(5) Fix the time and place for hearing any matter related to compliance with sections 1721.19 , 1721.20 , 1721.21 , 1721.211 , 4735.02 , and 4767.02 of the Revised Code.

The chairperson shall designate three members of the commission to serve on the crematory review board in accordance with section 4717.03 of the Revised Code for such time as the chairperson finds appropriate. Members designated to serve on the crematory review board shall perform all functions necessary to carry out the duties of the board as described in section 4717.03 of the Revised Code. Members who serve on the crematory review board shall receive no compensation for such service.

(D) Before entering upon the duties of office, each member of the commission shall take the oath pursuant to section 3.22 of the Revised Code. The governor may remove any member for misconduct, neglect of duty, incapacity, or malfeasance in accordance with section 3.04 of the Revised Code.

(E) Members of the commission shall receive no compensation but shall be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the commission.

(F) The division of real estate in the department of commerce shall provide the commission with meeting space, staff services, and other technical assistance required by the commission in carrying out its duties pursuant to sections 4767.05 to 4767.08 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.05

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 08-05-1998

4767.06 Duties of commission.

The Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission shall perform all of the following duties:

(A) Adopt, amend, and rescind such rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code as are necessary in carrying out sections 4767.05 to 4767.08 of the Revised Code, including rules relative to the following:

(1) Transacting the commission's business and managing its affairs;

(2) Establishing procedures for receiving, reviewing, and responding to complaints filed pursuant to section 4767.07 of the Revised Code;

(3) Conducting investigations in response to complaints filed pursuant to division (A) of section 4767.07 of the Revised Code;

(4) Resolving complaints by using informal techniques of mediation, conciliation, and persuasion, including requiring the parties involved in a complaint to be given prompt notice of any offers to resolve disputes and responses thereto;

(5) Advising all parties making a complaint, or who are the subject of a complaint, of any recommendations or findings of fact made by the commission with respect to the complaint;

(6) Requesting the party who has filed a complaint or is the subject of a complaint, and is affected by recommendations of the commission made with respect to the complaint, to notify the commission within a time specified by the commission of any action the party has taken in response to the commission's recommendations;

(7) Conducting nonpublic hearings and maintaining commission proceedings and records as confidential, notwithstanding sections 121.22 and 149.43 of the Revised Code when the commission determines that the nature of the complaints merits that action;

(8) Determining the method to be used in serving notices as required by section 4767.07 of the Revised Code.

(B) Publicize information concerning the existence and duties of the commission and the procedure for filing complaints pursuant to section 4767.07 of the Revised Code;

(C) Conduct hearings on complaints pursuant to section 4767.07 of the Revised Code;

(D) Submit at least annually by the thirty-first day of March a report on the commission's activities of the immediately preceding calendar year to the governor and the majority and minority leaders of the senate and house of representatives. The report shall indicate the total number of complaints received, initiated, and investigated under sections 4767.07 and 4767.08 of the Revised Code; the total number of complaints for which hearings were held; and the total number of referrals made to prosecuting attorneys, the attorney general, and the real estate commission pursuant to section 4767.08 of the Revised Code.

(E) Review, at least once each year, all actions taken by the prosecuting attorneys, the attorney general, and the real estate commission in response to referrals made to them by the cemetery dispute resolution commission or by the superintendent of the division of real estate in the department of commerce. The commission shall include in the report required in division (D) of this section information regarding the nature of the inappropriate conduct alleged in each referral and the status or disposition made of each referral occurring during the preceding two years.

(F) Perform all functions as are necessary in administering and enforcing sections 4767.05 to 4767.08 of the Revised Code, including the rendering of all advice necessary under divisions (B)(6) to (12) of section 4767.02 of the Revised Code;

(G) Review all proposed transfers that would transfer substantially all of the assets or stock of a cemetery, require an audit of the cemetery's funds on deposit under sections 1721.21 and 1721.211 of the Revised Code, and formulate an agreed plan pursuant to which the buyer and the seller of the cemetery will cause those funds to be properly funded;

(H) Adopt and publish suggested maintenance guidelines for all cemeteries registered in the state of Ohio under Chapter 4767. of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.06

Effective Date: 10-20-1999

4767.07 Complaints.

(A) Any person may file a complaint regarding the activity, practice, policy, or procedure of, or regarding an alleged violation of section 1721.19 , 1721.20 , 1721.21 , 1721.211 , 4735.02 , or 4767.02 of the Revised Code by, any person operating or maintaining a cemetery registered pursuant to section 4767.03 of the Revised Code that adversely affects or may adversely affect the interest of an owner or family member of the owner of a cemetery lot or burial, entombment, or columbarium right. All complaints shall be in writing and submitted to the division of real estate in the department of commerce on forms provided by the division.

(B) With respect to complaints filed pursuant to division (A) of this section, the division of real estate shall do all of the following:

(1) Acknowledge receipt of the complaint by sending written notice to the person who filed the complaint not more than twenty days after receipt of the complaint;

(2) Send written notice of the complaint within seven days after receipt of the complaint to the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery that is the subject of the complaint;

(3) Before taking further action, allow the owner or the person responsible for the operation and maintenance of the cemetery that is the subject of a complaint thirty days after the date the division sends notice of the complaint to respond to the division with respect to the complaint.

(C) The cemetery dispute resolution commission shall hear each complaint filed pursuant to division (A) of this section within one hundred eighty days after its filing, unless it has been resolved by the parties to the complaint.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.07

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 12-02-1996

4767.08 Conduct of investigations.

(A) The Ohio cemetery dispute resolution commission, on its own motion or as a result of a complaint received pursuant to section 4767.07 of the Revised Code and with good cause shown, shall investigate or cause to be investigated alleged violations of sections 1721.19 , 1721.20 , 1721.21 , 1721.211 , 4735.02 , 4767.02, and 4767.03 of the Revised Code. If the commission or the superintendent of the division of real estate in the department of commerce believes that a violation has occurred, the commission or superintendent shall do all of the following:

(1) Review the financial records of the cemetery to ensure compliance with sections 1721.21 and 1721.211 of the Revised Code;

(2) Request the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the alleged violation occurred to initiate such proceedings as are appropriate.

(B) If, as a result of an investigation, the commission or the superintendent believes that a person has violated Chapter 1345. of the Revised Code, the commission or superintendent shall report the findings to the attorney general.

(C) The commission, at any time, may dismiss a complaint if it determines there is not good cause shown for the complaint. If the commission dismisses a complaint, it shall notify the person who filed the complaint within twenty days of reaching its decision and identify the reason why the complaint was dismissed.

(D) When necessary for the division of real estate to perform the duties required by sections 4767.07 and 4767.08 of the Revised Code, the superintendent of the division, after consultation with at least a majority of the members of the cemetery dispute resolution commission, may issue subpoenas and compel the production of books, papers, records, and other forms of evidence.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.08

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 11-03-2000

4767.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates division (A) of section 4767.02 of the Revised Code is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Cite as R.C. § 4767.99

Effective Date: 10-20-1999