NFDA Makes Progress on Key Issues During Advocacy Summit Congressional Visits

March 30, 2010
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imageDuring its 2010 Advocacy Summit, March 8-10 in Washington, D.C., members of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) made notable progress in advancing important issues with their congressional representatives.

The three key issues that funeral directors discussed with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate included:

NFDA Senior Vice President of Advocacy John Fitch reports significant progress on two issues that have not received much attention. ?Most members of Congress had not heard of Rep. Rush?s bill until they met with funeral directors during the Advocacy Summit. Similarly, many members of Congress were unfamiliar with our efforts to codify the SSI exemption for qualified funeral and burial trusts. Following their meeting with constituent funeral directors, several representatives and senators indicated interest in co-sponsoring these bills.?

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Fitch reported that while estate tax relief is a controversial issue for some members of Congress, most agreed that something needed to be done to ease the burden for small businesses.

In a historic first, NFDA members were joined by representatives from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) and the National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association (NFD&MA) as they made their visits to Capitol Hill in conjunction with NFDA?s annual event. This joint effort allowed more than 240 members of the three associations to present a unified position on key federal issues.

Keynote Speakers Inform, Inspire

The keynote speeches during the 2010 Advocacy Summit explored new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations and legislation pending before congress. Like the 2009 event, this year?s keynote speeches were Webcast live; recordings of the speeches are now available for viewing and will be archived for the next year.

On March 9, Advocacy Summit attendees learned about the TSA?s new 100% air cargo screening regulations. Presenters included: Marc Rossi, TSA branch chief, Certified Cargo Screening Program; Rob Hyde, TSA branch chief, Air Cargo Policy; and Keith May, American Airlines Cargo.

Under the ?Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007,? the TSA will require screening of 100% of air cargo transported on passenger aircraft at the piece level by August 1, 2010. The presenters discussed the new regulations and how they apply to the shipments of human remains.

To view a recording of this Webcast, visit http://memorialstreams.com/ms/NFDA and enter Service ID ?855? and Password ?nfda?.

On March 10, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives working on behalf of funeral service addressed Advocacy Summit attendees. Rep. Rush spoke about what inspired him to author the ?Bereaved Consumer?s Bill of Rights Act of 2009? and why he continues to fight for this important legislation. In addition, Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio, shared his insights as an NFDA-member funeral director who is also serving his second term in Congress, where he?s actively supporting and representing the interests of funeral service and families.

To view a recording of this Webcast, visit http://memorialstreams.com/ms/NFDA and enter Service ID ?856? and Password ?nfda?.

Mobile Museum on Capitol Hill

In conjunction with the Advocacy Summit, Reflections: The American Funeral, a free mobile museum sponsored by NFDA that chronicles the history of funerals and funeral service in this country, made an appearance on Capitol Hill on March 9 and 10.

More than 1,000 people ? including members of Congress, such as Rep. Mark Shaurer, D.-Mich., and Rep. Parker Griffith, R-Ala. ? toured the museum while it was in Washington, D.C., and praised its moving depiction of the diversity of funerals in America. Other guests included congressional staff, and staff from the Federal Trade Commission, Veterans Memorial Affairs, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Capitol Police and the U.S. Secret Service.

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