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HISTORY & PROCEDURES

The Alabama Board of Funeral Service is the regulatory and licensing agency for the funeral home profession in the state of Alabama. It was created in 1975 by Act 214 of the Alabama Legislature's Regular Session and actual office operation began in early 1976. The Board is made up of nine members, seven professional members from each U.S. Congressional district and two consumer members. The seven professional members are appointed by the Governor, one consumer member is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and one consumer member by the Speaker of the House. Each member serves a four-year term and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. Each October a meeting is held in Montgomery for all funeral directors and embalmers of the state for the purpose of nominating potential professional members for the districts that terms expire in December of that year, with the new terms beginning in January. On odd numbered years nominations are taken for districts three, four, six, and seven. On even numbered years nominations are taken for districts one, two, and five. To be eligible to serve as a professional member, a person must have been either licensed to practice embalming for ten consecutive years prior to the appointment or actively engaged in the practice of funeral directing for ten consecutive years prior to the appointment and must also be the operator of a funeral establishment. The total Board composition must include a minimum of four licensed embalmers, with the remaining professional members who are funeral directors who are also funeral establishment operators. The consumer members may not have held, nor currently hold, a license or certification issued by the board, may not be employed at any time by, or professionally or financially associated with, the holder of a license or certificate issued by the board, and may not be related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to the holder of a license or certificate issued by the board.

At the first meeting of each term, the members elect a chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer. The Board meets once every quarter, traditionally in January, April, July, and October. At these meetings license applications for funeral directors, embalmers, and funeral establishments are reviewed as well as those applicants who wish to reinstate their licenses. The Board also addresses any other agenda items for that quarter.

The Board also has the authority to conduct administrative hearings to determine if a licensee has committed acts that violate any funeral service laws or regulations and, if found guilty, what penalty to impose. Suspension, revocation, refusal to renew, and refusal to issue a license are all possible penalties along imposing fines up to $2500 per violation. If a licensee is found guilty and penalties are imposed, he/she may appeal the Board's ruling to circuit court. All complaints, information, or evidence concerning a potential violation should be reported to the Board staff and not the members directly. Any member who has prior knowledge of a case before a hearing will not be allowed to participate in the hearing. The members basically serve as the jury and may only hear and consider testimony and evidence presented at the hearing.