Historic: New Jersey Advances Bill for Independent Crematories for Hindus

Written on 06/05/2024
Asia91 Team


NEW JERSEY - A significant milestone for the Hindu and Indian American communities, a new bill allowing the establishment of standalone cremation facilities has passed the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee and is now headed to the full Assembly for consideration.

 

This bill aims to amend current laws to permit crematories to operate independently of cemetery grounds or funeral home properties.

 

 

In a move that resonates deeply with the Hindu and Indian American communities in New Jersey, Bill A4216, introduced on May 2, 2024, by Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and Committee Chairman Sterley Stanley, seeks to allow standalone cremation facilities to operate independently.

 

Currently, New Jersey law mandates crematories to be situated on cemetery grounds or associated with funeral home properties.

 

The bill, if passed, will permit crematories to be owned or operated by a governmental entity, a religious corporation, or a nonprofit cremation company. Crematory companies must file operational details with the New Jersey Cemetery Board, post regulations and service charges, and obtain municipal consent for establishment or enlargement.

 

Additionally, they must maintain detailed records of each cremation and are prohibited from manufacturing or selling urns or other cremains vessels or from being involved in the conduct of any funeral home or mortuary science business.

 

The New Jersey Cemetery Board will issue 12 permits through an application process for the operation of these standalone crematories, exempting them from certain statutory requirements.

 

The Coalition of Hindu Organizations of North America (CoHNA) played a pivotal role in the bill's advancement, collaborating with over 25 community organizations, temples, and senior associations.

 

Dhiren Amin and the Indian Business Association have been recognized for their leadership in advocating for the bill, with Amin publicly acknowledging the groups that participated in the advocacy efforts at the State Capitol.

 

 

  • Bill Introduction: Bill A4216 was introduced on May 2, 2024, by Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and Committee Chairman Sterley Stanley.
  • Key Provisions: The bill allows standalone cremation facilities to operate independently of cemetery grounds or funeral home properties.
  • Regulatory Requirements: Crematory companies must file operational details, post regulations and service charges, obtain municipal consent, and maintain detailed records.
  • Community Involvement: CoHNA and over 25 community organizations played a significant role in advancing the bill.

 

The advancement of Bill A4216 marks a historic step for the Hindu and Indian American communities in New Jersey, addressing a long-standing need for dedicated cremation facilities that honor their traditions.

 

The bill's provisions ensure that these facilities operate with transparency and adhere to strict regulatory standards, reflecting the community's dedication to preserving cultural practices while complying with state regulations.

 

As the bill moves to the full Assembly for consideration, the Indian and Desi South Asian communities remain hopeful for its successful passage.

 

This legislative effort highlights the importance of cultural sensitivity and accommodation within state laws, setting a precedent for similar initiatives across the country. We wish the best of luck to all involved and request respect for the ongoing efforts to see this bill enacted.