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Committee OKs bill to allow transport of non-embalmed bodies across state lines

Wednesday, the House State Government Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would make it legal to transport a body that has not been cremated or embalmed across the state line.

House Bill 282 is sponsored by State Representative K. L. Brown, R-Jacksonville.

Rep. Brown said that the bill, “Would repeal an archaic law that has been on the books for 70 years.”

Brown said that under Alabama law, “When transporting a dead body outside of the state it has to be either cremated or embalmed. Alaska and Alabama are the only two states that have this requirement.”

“As far as I know, nobody has ever been charged with this,” Brown said. “I don’t think a state trooper would actually charge anyone with this on a traffic stop. In fact I don’t think a state trooper would pull back the sheet to see,” if the corpse had been embalmed or not.

Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, asked what if there was a disaster, like an ice storm or tornados, and the non-cremated or embalmed body was stuck and couldn’t be moved.

Brown said that there are disaster response teams that would respond to that in a natural disaster.

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Brown said that it is legal for non-embalmed corpses to come to Alabama; but it is illegal for a body to leave Alabama non-embalmed or cremated.

Brown is a mortician.

Rep. April Weaver, R-Alabaster, joked, “This might be the most interesting bill that we have had on the floor this session.”

HB282 received a favorable report from the Committee. The bill can now be considered by the full House of Representatives.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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