Senate Bill 239 as enacted

Public Act 25 of 2019

Sponsor:  Sen. Stephanie Chang

1st House Committee:  Regulatory Reform

2nd House Committee:  Ways and Means

Senate Committee:  Regulatory Reform

Complete to 6-18-19

BRIEF SUMMARY:  Senate Bill 239 amends Article 18 of the Michigan Occupational Code to exempt mortuary science students from certain provisions limiting embalming-related actions to resident trainees or those licensed in mortuary science. The bill takes effect

FISCAL IMPACT:  Senate Bill 239 would not have a significant fiscal impact on any unit of state or local government.


Administrative Rule R 339.18921(1)(b) states that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) adopts by reference the standards in the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accreditation manual. Rule 6.9.1 of the ABFSE manual requires that each student of mortuary science actively participate in at least ten embalmings in order to fulfill the clinical embalming component of the curriculum.

However, as described below, the Occupational Code prohibits anyone but a mortuary science licensee or a resident trainee from embalming.

In November of 2018, LARA set May 31, 2019, as the date by which the legislature must resolve the conflict between rule and statute.


Senate Bill 239 amends the Michigan Occupational Code. Under the act, only a mortuary science licensee or a resident trainee under the supervision of a mortuary science licensee can place a chemical on or in a dead human body.

The bill extends this ability to a student enrolled in a higher education in mortuary science at a school, college, or university accredited by the applicable accrediting agency in funeral services or mortuary science. 

MCL 339.1803



Supporters of the bill argued that in order protect the certification of the 781 students who have graduated from Wayne State’s mortuary science program since 1991—the only accredited mortuary science program in Michigan—as well as the 21 who will graduate this year, the bill must be allowed to resolve the apparent conflicting rule and law. Additionally, proponents argued, failure to meet the deadline could affect the functioning of funeral homes across the state, inasmuch as funeral homes, which are typically small, family-run businesses, would be adversely affected if the licensure of those working at those businesses were in jeopardy.


No arguments opposing the bill were offered in House committee.

                                                                                        Legislative Analyst:   Jenny McInerney

                                                                                                Fiscal Analyst:   Marcus Coffin

This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.