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Connecticut Public Acts 1996

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Substitute House Bill No. 5718



Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 19a-297 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The selectmen of towns, cemetery associations or ecclesiastical societies, having the care of cemeteries, may enact bylaws providing for the care and management of all burial lots, and the protection of all shrubs, trees, fences and monuments thereon, provided no such bylaws shall require or result in the removal or banishing of any undamaged United States flag or armed forces service marker, including flagholders provided by veterans organizations, from any grave site, and may appoint superintendents and sextons for such cemeteries, who shall have the exclusive right to direct the opening of graves, and no grave shall be opened in any cemetery except with the consent of the superintendent or sexton. Any person to whom such bylaws have been made known who violates the same shall be fined not more than ten dollars. The incorporators [or] organizers OR MEMBERS of any cemetery association or, if no incorporators [or] organizers OR MEMBERS are living, the owners of burial lots therein, by a majority vote, may, at any meeting called for that purpose, amend its articles of association or its bylaws.

Sec. 2. Section 53a-218 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) A person is guilty of interference with a cemetery or burial ground when he, without authorization of the owner of the burial lot, or a lineal descendant of the deceased, or of the municipality, cemetery association or person or authority responsible for the control or management of the cemetery or burial ground: (1) Intentionally destroys, mutilates, defaces, injures or removes any tomb, monument, gravestone or other structure placed or designed for a memorial of the dead, or any portion or fragment thereof, or any fence, railing, curb or other enclosure for the burial of the dead, in or from any cemetery or burial ground; or (2) wantonly or maliciously disturbs the contents of any tomb or grave in any cemetery or burial ground.

(b) Interference with a cemetery or burial ground is a class [D] C felony and any person found guilty under this section shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars.

Sec. 3. Section 17b-131 of the general statutes, as amended by section 11 of public act 95-194, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

When a person in any town, or sent from such town to any licensed institution or state humane institution, dies or is found dead therein and does not leave sufficient estate or has no legally liable relative able to pay the cost of a proper funeral and burial, the selectmen, or the public official charged with the administration of general assistance in such town, shall give to such person a proper funeral and burial, and such selectmen or public official may pay a sum not exceeding twelve hundred dollars as an allowance toward the funeral expenses of such deceased, said sum to be paid, upon submission of a proper bill, to the funeral director, cemetery or crematory, as the case may be. On and after October 1, 1991, such payment for funeral and burial expenses shall be reduced by (1) the amount in any revocable or irrevocable funeral fund, (2) any prepaid funeral contract, (3) the face value of any life insurance policy owned by the decedent, and (4) contributions in excess of two thousand EIGHT HUNDRED dollars toward such funeral and burial expenses from all other sources including friends, relatives and all other persons, organizations, veterans and other benefit programs and other agencies. For the purpose of reimbursement from the state, such funeral and burial expense shall be considered a general assistance expenditure within the meaning of section 17b-134 AS AMENDED. Any person burying or causing to be buried any such person in violation of the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars. This section shall not affect the provisions of section 19a-270 AS AMENDED.

Approved June 4, 1996. Effective October 1, 1996.