BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1615
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          Date of Hearing:   April 24, 2012

                                 Mary Hayashi, Chair
                    AB 1615 (Miller) - As Amended:  March 29, 2012
          SUBJECT  :   Human remains.

           SUMMARY  :   Authorizes the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau (Bureau) 
          to license and regulate hydrolysis facilities and hydrolysis 
          facility managers, as specified.  Specifically,  this bill  : 

          1)Adds licensed hydrolysis facilities and licensed hydrolysis 
            facility managers to existing law governing the administration 
            and licensure, including disciplinary action, of cemeteries 
            and crematories, as specified.

          2)Adds hydrolyzed human remains to existing law governing the 
            disposal of cremated human remains, including disciplinary 
            action, as specified.

          3)Authorizes the Bureau to establish the following fee schedule:

             a)   To take the examination or reexamination to become a 
               licensed hydrolysis facility manager may not exceed the 
               reasonable cost of administering the examination or $500; 

             b)   To obtain or renew a license as a hydrolysis facility 
               manager may not exceed the reasonable cost of licensure 
               administration or $100.

          4)Specifies that a hydrolysis facility may be operated, 
            established, or maintained by a corporation, partnership, or 
            natural person, provided that a valid hydrolysis facility 
            license has been issued by the Bureau.

          5)Requires a change in ownership of a hydrolysis facility to be 
            reported to the Bureau and for the new owner to obtain a new 
            license, as specified.

          6)Requires the application for a hydrolysis facility license to 
            be made in writing on the form prescribed by the Bureau and 
            filed at the principal office of the Bureau, as specified.


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          7)Requires the Bureau to require an applicant to prove 
            compliance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, 
            ordinances, and orders, and prohibits the Bureau from issuing 
            a hydrolysis facility license until the Bureau is satisfied 
            that the public interest, human health, and environmental 
            quality will be served by the applicant.

          8)Requires an applicant to obtain all relevant permits from 
            local and state agencies to demonstrate compliance with 
            hazardous waste, water quality, and drinking water standards, 
            as specified.

          9)Requires the Bureau to adopt and amend rules and regulations 
            prescribing standards of knowledge, experience, and financial 
            responsibility for applicants for a hydrolysis facility 
            license, as specified.

          10)Authorizes the Bureau, upon receipt of an application for a 
            hydrolysis facility license, to investigate the physical 
            status, plans, specifications, and financing of the proposed 
            hydrolysis facility, the character of the applicant, 
            including, if applicable, its officers, directors, 
            shareholders, or members, and any other qualifications 
            required of the applicant under the requirements of this bill, 
            and for this purpose to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, 
            and take testimony.

          11)Requires the applicant, at the time of the filing of an 
            application, to pay to the Cemetery Fund a sum fixed by the 
            Bureau not in excess of the reasonable cost of investigation 
            or $400 to defray the expenses of investigation.  In the event 
            the sum is insufficient to defray all of the expenses, the 
            applicant shall, within five days after the Bureau makes a 
            request, deposit an additional sum sufficient to defray 
            expenses, provided that the total sum does not exceed $900.

          12)Prohibits a licensed hydrolysis facility from conducting 
            hydrolysis unless all of the following requirements are met:

             a)   The licensee has a written contract with the person or 
               persons entitled to custody of the remains clearly stating 
               the location, manner, and time of disposition of the 
               remains, agreeing to pay the regular fees of the licensee 
               for hydrolysis, disposition, and other services rendered, 


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               and any other contractual provisions required by the 

             b)   Hydrolysis of remains does not occur more than 24 hours 
               after delivery of the remains unless the remains have been 
               preserved in the interim by refrigeration or embalming; 

             c)   The licensee has a contractual relationship with a 
               licensed cemetery authority for final disposition of 
               hydrolyzed remains by burial, entombment, or inurnment of 
               any and all remains which are not lawfully disposed of or 
               which are not called for or accepted by the person or 
               persons entitled to the custody and control of the 
               disposition of those remains within 90 days of the date of 

          13)Requires a hydrolysis facility licensee that prohibits 
            relatives or responsible parties from viewing the hydrolysis 
            process, to disclose this fact in writing prior to the signing 
            of any contract.

          14)Requires a hydrolysis facility licensee to keep records and 
            relevant permits as required by the Bureau and file annually 
            with the Bureau a report, describing the operations of the 
            licensee, including the number of hydrolyses performed, the 
            disposition of remains from each hydrolysis performed, and 
            other information as required by the Bureau.

          15)Requires a hydrolysis facility licensee operating a licensed 
            hydrolysis facility to pay an annual regulatory charge for 
            each hydrolysis facility, to be fixed by the Bureau at not 
            more than the reasonable cost of regulatory administration or 
            $400 and an additional charge to be fixed by the Bureau at not 
            more $8.50 per hydrolysis that occurred during the preceding 
            quarter, to be deposited in the Cemetery Fund.

          16)Requires each hydrolysis facility for which a license is 
            required to be operated under the supervision of a manager 
            qualified as such in accordance with rules adopted by the 
            Bureau. Each manager shall be required to successfully pass a 
            written examination, as specified. 

          17)Prohibits persons from engaging in the business of, acting in 
            the capacity of, or advertising or assuming to act as, a 


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            hydrolysis facility manager without first obtaining a license 
            from the Bureau.

          18)Requires a hydrolysis facility to at all times employ a 
            licensed hydrolysis facility manager to manage, supervise, and 
            direct its operations.

          19)Requires a hydrolysis facility owner to designate a licensed 
            hydrolysis facility manager to manage the hydrolysis facility 
            and report the designation, including a change in the 
            designation of a manager, to the Bureau within 10 days. 

          20)Requires the designated hydrolysis facility manager to be 
            responsible for exercising the direct supervision and control 
            over the operations, employees, and agents of the hydrolysis 
            facility as is necessary to ensure full compliance with the 
            applicable provisions of the Business and Professions code, 
            the Health and Safety Code, and any regulations adopted 
            pursuant thereto.  Failure of the designated hydrolysis 
            facility manager or the licensed hydrolysis facility to 
            exercise that supervision or control shall constitute a ground 
            for disciplinary action.

          21)Authorizes a hydrolysis facility to employ, in addition to 
            the designated hydrolysis facility manager, additional 
            licensed hydrolysis facility managers, however, only one 
            licensed hydrolysis facility manager may be appointed as the 
            designated hydrolysis facility manager of the hydrolysis 

          22)Requires the application for a hydrolysis facility manager 
            license to be made in writing on the form provided by the 
            Bureau, verified by the applicant, filed at the principal 
            office of the Bureau and accompanied by the fee fixed by this 

          23)Specifies that an applicant for a hydrolysis facility manager 
            license shall be at least 18 years of age, possess a high 
            school diploma or its equivalent, shall not have committed 
            acts or crimes constituting grounds for denial of licensure, 
            demonstrate compliance with the training and experience 
            requirements established by the Bureau, and be a resident of 

          24)Authorizes the Bureau to grant a hydrolysis facility manager 


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            license to any applicant who meets the requirements of this 
            bill and who has successfully passed the hydrolysis facility 
            manager examination.

          25)Prohibits a person from engaging in or conducting, or holding 
            himself or herself out as engaging in or conducting, the 
            activities of a hydrolysis facility manager without holding a 
            valid, unexpired hydrolysis facility manager license issued by 
            the Bureau.

          26)Prohibits a licensed hydrolysis facility manager from 
            engaging in or conducting, or holding himself or herself out 
            as engaging in or conducting, the activities of a hydrolysis 
            facility manager without being employed by, or without being a 
            sole proprietor, partner, or corporate officer of, a licensed 
            hydrolysis facility.

          27)Specifies that it is a misdemeanor for any person, firm, or 
            corporation to hydrolyze human remains, or to engage in the 
            disposition of those remains, without a valid, unexpired 
            hydrolysis facility license.  Each hydrolysis carried out in 
            violation of this bill shall be a separate violation.

          28)Provides that a hydrolysis facility licensee is subject to 
            and shall be disciplined by the Bureau in accordance with 
            current law allowing for suspension or revocation of a 

          29)Defines the following terms:

             a)   "Hydrolyzed remains" means bone fragments of a human 
               body that are left after hydrolysis in a hydrolysis 
               facility, and does not include foreign materials, 
               pacemakers, or prostheses;

             b)   "Hydrolysis facility" means a building or structure 
               containing one or more vessels for the reduction of bodies 
               of deceased persons by alkaline hydrolysis;

             c)   "Hydrolysis vessel" means the enclosed space within 
               which the hydrolysis of human remains is performed, as 

             d)   "Hydrolysis container" means a hydrolysable closed 
               container resistant to leakage of bodily fluids into which 


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               the body of a deceased person is placed prior to insertion 
               in a hydrolysis vessel for alkaline hydrolysis;

             e)   "Hydrolyzed remains container" means a receptacle in 
               which hydrolyzed remains are placed after hydrolysis; and,

             f)   "Hydrolysis" means the process by which the following 
               three steps are taken:

               i)     The reduction of the body of a deceased person to 
                 its essential chemical component by alkaline hydrolysis, 
                 as specified; 

               ii)    Wherever possible, the least amount of potassium 
                 hydroxide that is still effective for complete 
                 dissolution of the remains shall be used within the 
                 hydrolysis container, to minimize the downstream 
                 environmental impact of the effluent and to maximize 
                 worker safety; and,

               iii)   The processing of remains after removal from the 
                 hydrolysis chamber, as specified.

          30)Prohibits, except with the express written permission of the 
            person entitled to control the disposition of the remains, a 
            person from doing the following:

             a)   Hydrolyzing the remains of more than one person at the 
               same time in the same hydrolysis vessel, or introducing the 
               remains of a second person into a hydrolysis vessel until 
               dissolution of any preceding remains has been terminated 
               and reasonable efforts have been employed to remove all 
               fragments of the preceding remains, as specified;

             b)   Disposing of or scattering hydrolyzed remains in a 
               manner or in such a location that the remains are 
               commingled with those of another person, as specified; and,

             c)   Placing hydrolyzed remains or other remains of more than 
               one person in the same container or the same interment 
               space, as specified.

          31)Requires written acknowledgment from the person entitled to 
            control the disposition of the hydrolyzed remains to the 
            person with whom arrangements are made for disposition of the 


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            remains on a form that includes, but is not limited to, the 
            following information: "During the alkaline hydrolysis 
            process, chemical dissolution using heat, high pressure water, 
            and an alkaline solution is used to chemically break down the 
            human tissue and the hydrolyzable alkaline hydrolysis 
            container.  The process may not result in complete 
            dissolution.  After the process is complete, the liquid 
            effluent solution contains the chemical byproducts of the 
            alkaline hydrolysis process except for the deceased's bone 
            fragments.  The solution is cooled and released in accordance 
            with local environmental regulations.  A hot water rinse is 
            applied to the cremated remains, which are then dried, 
            crushed, pulverized, or ground to facilitate inurnment or 
            scattering."  The acknowledgment shall be filed and retained, 
            for at least five years, by the person who disposes of or 
            inters the remains.

          32)Specifies that a person, including any corporation or 
            partnership, who violates the provisions noted in 30) and 31), 
            above, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

          33)Requires all hydrolyzed remains not disposed of within one 
            year, in accordance with current law governing the operation 
            and management of private cemeteries, to be interred.

          34)Prohibits a hydrolysis facility from making or enforcing any 
            rules requiring that human remains be placed in a casket 
            before hydrolysis or that human remains be hydrolyzed in a 
            casket.   Specifies that every director, officer, agent, or 
            representative of a hydrolysis facility who violates this 
            provision is guilty of a misdemeanor.  Provides that nothing 
            in this bill shall be construed to prohibit the requiring of 
            some type of container or disposal unit.

          35)Requires a hydrolysis facility to maintain an accurate record 
            of all hydrolyses performed, subject to inspection by the 
            Bureau, for at least 10 years, including all of the following 

             a)   Name of referring funeral director, if any;

             b)   Name of deceased;

             c)   Date of hydrolysis;


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             d)   Name of hydrolysis vessel operator;

             e)   Date that the body was inserted in hydrolysis vessel;

             f)   Date that the body was removed from hydrolysis vessel;

             g)   Date that final processing of hydrolyzed remains was 

             h)   Disposition of hydrolyzed remains;

             i)   Name and address of authorizing agent;

             j)   The identification number assigned to the deceased, 
               pursuant to existing law;

             aa)  A photocopy of the disposition permit filed in 
               connection with the disposition; and,

             bb)  Any documentation of compliance with appropriate 
               environmental and safety laws.

          36)Requires a hydrolysis facility to maintain an identification 
            system allowing identification of each decedent beginning from 
            the time the hydrolysis facility accepts delivery of human 
            remains until the point at which it releases the hydrolyzed 
            remains to a third party, as specified.

          37)Provides that a hydrolysis facility that fails, when 
            requested by an official of the Bureau, to produce a written 
            procedure for identification of remains shall have 15 working 
            days from the time of the request to produce an identification 
            procedure for review by the executive officer of the Board.  
            Requires the license of the hydrolysis facility to be 
            suspended, as specified, if no identification procedure is 
            produced for review after 15 working days have elapsed.

          38)Requires a hydrolysis facility regulated by the Bureau to 
            knowingly hydrolyze only human remains in hydrolysis chambers, 
            along with the hydrolysis container.

          39)Provides that, if a hydrolyzed remains container is of 
            insufficient capacity to accommodate all hydrolyzed remains of 
            a given deceased, the hydrolysis facility shall provide a 
            larger hydrolyzed remains container or urn at no additional 


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            cost, or place the excess remains in a secondary cremated 
            remains container and attach the second container, in a manner 
            so as not to be easily detached through incidental contact, to 
            the primary cremated remains container for interment, 
            scattering, or other disposition by the person entitled to 
            control the disposition.

          40)Prohibits a hydrolysis facility from accepting human remains 
            for hydrolysis unless the remains are in a hydrolysis 
            container, as defined, and labeled with the identity of the 

          41)Requires a licensed hydrolysis facility when taking custody 
            of a body that has not been embalmed to refrigerate the body 
            at a temperature not greater than 50 degrees Fahrenheit within 
            two hours, unless the hydrolysis process will begin within 24 

          42)Requires every hydrolysis facility manager or duly authorized 
            representative to provide to any person who inquires in 
            person, a written or printed list of prices for hydrolysis and 
            storage, hydrolysis containers, hydrolysis remains containers 
            and urns, and requirements for hydrolysis container, as 

          43)Requires the hydrolysis facility licensee, or its authorized 
            representatives, to provide instruction to all hydrolysis 
            facility personnel involved in the hydrolysis process, as 

          44)Prohibits an employee of a hydrolysis facility from operating 
            any hydrolysis equipment until he or she has demonstrated to 
            the licensee or authorized representative that he or she 
            understands the procedures required to ensure the health and 
            safety conditions are maintained at the hydrolysis facility 
            and that hydrolyzed remains are not commingled, as specified.

          45)Provides that a hydrolysis facility that fails to produce a 
            written employee instruction plan or record of employee 
            training for inspection to the Bureau shall have 15 working 
            days from the time of the request to produce a plan or 
            training record for review by Bureau or face suspension, as 

           EXISTING LAW  licenses and regulates crematoria and various 


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          professions related to the disposition of human remains by the 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           Purpose of this bill  .  According to the author's office, "AB 
          1615 paves the way for new business opportunity and job creation 
          in the state by introducing regulations for the commercial 
          operation of new, safe and environmentally responsible, end of 
          life alternatives for the people of California.

          "Alkaline Hydrolysis, also referred to as resomation, water 
          resolution and bio-cremation, is a 'green', eco-friendly 
          alternative to traditional cremation by incineration.  It is 
          advanced technology that, through an automated process, 
          accelerates the natural decomposition process of the body 
          utilizing a heated potassium hydroxide (alkaline) and water 
          solution to respectfully reduce human remains to a presentable, 
          contaminant-free ash.

          "Unlike cremation by incineration, alkaline hydrolysis does not 
          pollute the air, nor does it emit any green-house gas, and its 
          CO2 emissions are twenty times less that its traditional 
          alternative. Alkaline hydrolysis also neutralizes embalming 
          fluids and toxins to protect soil and underground water from 

           Support .  The Cemetery and Mortuary Association of California 
          (CMAC) writes, "CMAC supports the objective of AB 1615 to 
          authorize hydrolysis by the enactment of a specific set of 
          statutes that defines the process and establishes its 
          requirements and parameters including notification to consumers. 
           The association supports the provisions of this measure that 
          would ensure that the laws addressing hydrolysis will be clear, 
          that the provisions will be effective, and that consumers will 
          able to make informed decisions."

           Opposition  .  The California Catholic Conference, Inc., writes, 
          "Unfortunately, throughout this bill, there is no real 
          distinction made between 'created remains' and 'hydrolyzed 
          remains,' although the procedures are entirely different.  
          Alkaline hydrolysis - a process also called resomation - was 
          first proposed in Europe as a method of disposing of sick cows 


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          and since 1992 has been used in the United States to dispose of 
          animal carcasses.  It was not designed to dispose of dead human 

          "As Catholics we believe that the deceased human body, once 
          alive and animated by an immortal soul, possesses a moral 
          dignity which should be honored by the living.  The bone residue 
          from the resomation process is the result of chemical digestion 
          and results in a radically different substance than cremated 
          ashes.  Will this create an emotional distance from the remains 
          rather than a reverence for them?  While we do not believe that 
          resomation is 'evil', we do find it to be a particularly casual 
          - and perhaps disrespectful - disposition of human remains."

           Previous legislation  .  AB 4 (Miller) of 2011 authorizes the 
                                                    Bureau to license and regulate hydrolysis facilities and 
          hydrolysis facility managers, as specified.  This bill was held 
          in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

          AB 2283 (Miller) of 2010, requires the Bureau to adopt 
          regulations for the safe operation of alkaline hydrolysis 
          chambers, by July 1, 2011.  This bill was held in the Senate 
          Environmental Quality Committee.


          Association of California Cremationists
          California Funeral Directors Association
          Cemetery and Mortuary Association of California
          Matthews Cremation
          Several individuals

          California Catholic Conference, Inc.
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Angela Mapp / B.,P. & C.P. / (916)