Pubdate: Sat, 18 May 2013
Source: Anniston Star (AL)
Copyright: 2013 Consolidated Publishing
Author: Leah Cayson


Rep. K.L. Brown to Continue Working to Regulate 'Pre-Need' Funeral Packages

Every year, Rep. Koven L. Brown, RJacksonville, introduces at least 
one bill intended to crack down on problems he sees in the funeral industry.

It's a topic Brown, the namesake of K. L. Brown Funeral Home in 
Jacksonville, knows well. But it's not always easy to sell those 
bills to others in the Legislature. Earlier this month, a House 
commit tee failed to approve a Brown-sponsored bill that would 
regulate "pre- need" funeral packages - packages that funeral homes 
sell to customers years before their death, and sometimes fail to 
deliver on when the time comes. It was the second year Brown's bill 
got shot down.

"I was real disappointed," Brown said. "It was disappointing to work 
hard all year and for the chairman to not let the committee vote."

If passed, the bill would exempt municipal and church cemeteries. 
Brown plans to pursue the pre-need bill again next year with little change.

"I've always heard the third time's the charm," Brown said. "We tried 
to make the bill fair for everybody. I get the feeling that some of 
our cemetery folks don't want to be regulated."

Brown also has two local bills related to Jacksonville's civil 
service board. The bill would amend the state code to declare any 
member of the board's office to be considered vacant and to be filled 
if the member fails to attend three consecutive meetings.

House Bill 446 would allow any professional librarian employed by the 
city to be eligible for the civil service board. Both bills passed in 
the House and are in the Senate. They are expected to receive a vote 
Monday, the last day of session.

Brown is perhaps best known around the state as a rare Republican 
supporter of legalizing medical marijuana. Inspired by the struggle 
of a close relative who used the drug when suffering a terminal 
illness, Brown in past sessions has introduced bills to allow medical 
use of pot. This year, he spoke in favor of a similar bill by a 
Birmingham representative, but didn't introduce one himself.

Medical marijuana legislation has never made it out of committee in 
either house, but back in Brown's district, the idea seems to have 
some support.

Piedmont resident Ed Hanson said he supports it, but he thinks there 
will need to be strict regulations

"My daughter has stage four cancer. If it (medical marijuana) would 
help her, then I don't see why she can't have it," Hanson said.

Rena Comisac, owner of the Quality Shoppe in Jacksonville, said she 
knows Brown has a personal connection with this issue.

"I need to be more informed before I lean one way or the other," 
Comisac said. "If it were passed, it needs to be passed with caution."

Brown said he'll work on the medical marijuana issue again in the next session.

"We're going to set up a panel next year with consumers, medical 
experts, law enforcement and legislators to see if anyone has any 
common ground," Brown said. "Then we can see where we can work from."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom