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Lawmakers Consider Rolling Back Tough Cemetery Regulations

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Burr Oak Cemetery

A flag marks a grave at Burr Oak Cemetery near a blue dumpster behind which a pile of human remains were found July 8, 2009 in Alsip. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) – Tough cemetery regulations imposed last year after the Burr Oak scandal have proved burdensome for many Illinois cemeteries, leading lawmakers to consider rolling them back.

The Illinois Senate has passed legislation revoking key parts of the cemetery law, including the requirement for a centralized state database of gravesites. It also would allow nearly all cemetery managers to avoid getting a license.

The regulations were inspired by the conditions at Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip. Investigators found bones and caskets dumped in heaps after allegedly being dug up so that plots could be re-used. In some cases, multiple bodies had been buried in single graves.

Some supporters of the regulations that were approved after Burr Oak said they could support modest tweaks. But they said the legislation now under consideration would gut the law.

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