Plan for disposition of veterans’ remains advances

Veterans whose remains go unclaimed could be buried in a veteran cemetery under a bill advanced from general file Feb. 27.

LB146, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, would authorize crematoriums and funeral establishments to relinquish control of unclaimed remains to veterans service organizations, who then would provide a burial in a veteran cemetery.

Crawford said the bill would ensure that veterans receive the dignified burial they deserve.

“Funeral directors work tirelessly with grieving families every day to ensure loved ones are treated with care and respect,” she said. “This is an additional tool in cases when family members cannot be found or have lost touch with a veteran.”

A crematorium or funeral establishment could, upon receiving unclaimed remains, provide information to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs or a veterans service organization to determine whether the remains are those of a veteran and the veteran’s eligibility for burial in a veteran cemetery.

Once the organization has been in possession of the remains for one year and made a reasonable effort to locate the appropriate authorizing agent for such remains, but no attempt has been made to claim them, the organization could provide for disposition of the remains at a veteran cemetery.

A crematorium, funeral establishment or veterans service organization would not be liable for the disposition of cremated remains unless there is willful negligence or misconduct.

Hoskins Sen. Dave Bloomfield supported the bill.

“Too many of my brothers from the Vietnam War are in this category. We owe them, at the very least, the honor of a decent burial,” he said.

Senators advanced the bill to select file on a 36-0 vote.

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