Bill expanding after-death care goes to House floor


Families would have more options in providing home-based, after-death care to loved ones under a bill headed to the House floor.

Rep. Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights) sponsors HF3151, which clarifies the rights of next-of-kin to control a dead body, not just the disposition of remains. The bill would allow those listed in Minnesota’s next-of-kin hierarchy to obtain permission to remove a body from a place of death. It would also modify rules for how bodies may be transported and prepared for public viewing.

Attitudes toward birth and death have evolved over the past 35 years, heralded in part by baby boomers, Laine told the House Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee. A growing number of people are becoming more open about death and looking for after-death processes that are interactive and natural, she said.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, testified that a dead body does not represent a health risk, despite rumors to the contrary.

A companion, SF2903, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), awaits action by the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee.