Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
SB 656 increases the authority of the banking commissioner in matters concerning perpetual care cemeteries (PCC). If the commissioner has reason to believe that the current perpetual care trust fund is inadequate to maintain, repair, and care for the cemetery, then he or she may petition the court to modify or terminate the current fund. However, the court may not modify or terminate the fund without the commissioner’s consent.
The commissioner may bring a civil action against an individual if that individual has accumulated multiple violations for failing to maintain the PCC.
Current law provides the commissioner with the authority to issue cease and desist orders. This legislation would clarify the circumstances under which a cease and desist order may be given and the process for issuing such an order.
A perpetual care cemetery (PCC) is a type of trust fund. The purpose of this trust fund is to protect the public’s interest by preserving and preventing the cemetery from falling into disorder or dissolution. Corporations that operate a PCC must establish a fund with a trust company and it must remain separate from all operating funds of the corporation.
Although this bill gives the commissioner more authority, we support the fact that it is doing so to improve the efficiency of handling PCC violations. Currently, the legal process for forcing a corporation to care for a PCC, or for legally appointing a different receiver to take charge of the PCC, requires at least five owners of plots in the PCC to file a suit. This standard is an unnecessarily high bar to achieve any sort of legal action and is not as efficient as allowing the banking commissioner to petition the court.
This bill would provide an alternative method of accessing the courts because current statutory barriers limit burial plot owners from seeking recourse in the courts. As such this advances the individual liberty and property rights of the burial plot owners.