Wis. bill breathes new life into cemetery debate

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin bill has brought renewed life to a debate about how to handle death.

The bill would change a decades-old state law to allow cemeteries to build and run funeral homes on their property. It also would allow cemeteries and funeral homes to collaborate in other ways that are now prohibited.

Wisconsin is one of nine states that prevent so-called combination funeral service companies. Opponents are made up mostly of directors of the funeral homes. Cemetery owners largely favor the bill.

Both sides claim they represent the best interests of consumers. Some funeral directors say current law prevents big companies from creating monopolies and crowding out family-owned businesses. Cemetery owners say current law gets in the way of an open market that would set fair prices.

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