House approves Orcutt, DeBolt bill to protect burial plots and abandoned cemeteries

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CONTACT: John Handy, Communications Director for Rep. Ed Orcutt | 360-786-5758
Kelley Payne, Senior Public Information Officer for Rep. Richard DeBolt | 360-786-7761

House approves Orcutt, DeBolt bill to protect burial plots and abandoned cemeteries

A bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Orcutt and co-sponsored by Rep. Richard DeBoltwhich would protect a previously purchased burial plot in an abandoned cemetery, earned unanimous approval by the state House on Tuesday.

Rep. Orcutt, R-Kalama, says House Bill 1907 would address issues that arise when a cemetery is effectively abandoned but someone already owns a burial plot there. The problem was first brought to Rep. Orcutt’s attention when a constituent with a terminally ill mother feared she would be unable to bury her mother next to her already deceased father, despite having already purchased the burial plot.

“It’s essentially a property rights issue,” said Rep. Orcutt. “If a cemetery is abandoned, out of neglect or otherwise, folks who’ve bought burial plots there should still have access to that space. Mourning families should not have to worry about keeping a mother and father together when the time comes to finalize arrangements.”

Additionally, HB 1907 will expand the definition of a cemetery to include burial parks, mausoleums, and columbariums. It will also specify requirements for the proper transfer of records, including maps and other associated documents, to the Washington state archives when a cemetery no longer has an official owner.

HB 1907 now moves to the Senate for further consideration. Rep. Orcutt’s floor remarks on HB 1907 can be viewed here.


Washington State House Republican Communications