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Judge Tosses Out Most Funeral Home Regulations in Pennsylvania

(File photo, for illustrative purposes only)

(File photo, for illustrative purposes only)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Saying they are old and stifle competition, a federal judge sitting in Harrisburg has thrown out most of the laws and regulations governing Pennsylvania’s funeral homes.

Kathleen Ryan, general counsel for the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, says the ruling is the result of a lawsuit in which a York County, Pa. funeral director was the lead plaintiff.

She says the scope of the ruling caught her organization by surprise.

“Many of the provisions of the licensing laws –- and the court said this –- are very old, but we thought they were working okay.  Not to say that there weren’t some things that could’ve been altered, but certainly not to the extent that this court has changed them,” she says.

Ryan says the court order vacating the funeral home laws and regulations doesn’t take effect for at least 90 days, but she says many of the changes will have to be made legislatively.

Lawmakers are scheduled to break for summer recess on June 30th, and a spokesman for the Senate majority leader had no comment this morning on the court ruling.

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