By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, March 2, 2017, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill, HB34, which established a cemetery board to oversee the numerous cemeteries in Jefferson Couty.
HB34 was sponsored by Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham). The bill establishes a board funded by some of the money from the Jefferson County Legislative Office funds. That account is generated by the sale of concealed carry permits by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department.
Numerous members of the public spoke at a February 22 public hearing in the Jefferson County Legislation Committee meeting.] about deteriorating conditions in the cemeteries where their loves ones are buried.
Rep. Givan said, “We have been having a lot of problem with for profit cemeteries.” A lot of time when these situations occur the cemeteries become dilapidated. Ownership does not feel accountable and the cemetery becomes a nuisance in the community. This bill would create a board that would have some oversight.
Rep. Givan said that this bill was similar to a measure that the House passed this last year for Cullman county sponsored by Rep. Randall Shedd (R-Fairview). Givan said that the board would have the power to remove trash, cuts overgrown brush, clean up lots, etc. either by going to the owners and working with them or by contracting to have the lots cleaned up directly. Givan said that it is a much needed bill in Jefferson County and would not be taking money from the General Fund.
Mrs. Michael asked that the committee vote and support HB34. “It is very very important to get this passed so that our loved ones can rest in peace it is very important I can talk all day about the things we have gone through to try to get it done without success.” “My son was born in this cemetery in 2016.” The new ownership has neglected the property and cursed me out when I complained. He bought the property in a bankruptcy and feels entitled. Mrs. Morgan presented photographic evidence of the conditions in the cemetery.
Other persons had similar stories of cemeteries that sold graves; but then later failed to upkeep the properties.
The Jefferson County Legislative Committee is Chaired by Representative Jim Carns (R-Vestavia). Representative Rod Scott beat out Givan 8 to 5 in an election to elect a new Vice Chair.
Rep. Carns said, “I look forward to another two years of peace working together.”
The Committee passed HB34 with a favorable report.
On March 2, the full House passed the bill. Given thanked the full House for passing HB34. It now goes to the State Senate for it’s consideration.