ENGROSSED HOUSE BILL NO. 2335
C 092 L 90
State of Washington 51st Legislature 1990 Regular Session
By Representatives Silver, R. Fisher, Prince, Anderson, McLean, Pruitt, Smith, Hankins, Rector, Jacobsen, Winsley, Schoon, Wolfe, Fraser and Kirby
Read first time 1/10/90 and referred to Committee on State Government.
AN ACT Relating to cemeteries; amending RCW 68.04.040; adding a new chapter to Title 68 RCW; recodifying RCW 68.05.420; repealing RCW 68.05.410; and prescribing penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Abandoned cemetery" means a burial ground of the human dead in which the county assessor can find no record of an owner; or where the last known owner is deceased and lawful conveyance of the title has not been made; or in which a cemetery company, cemetery association, corporation, or other organization formed for the purposes of burying the human dead has either disbanded, been administratively dissolved by the secretary of state, or otherwise ceased to exist, and for which title has not been conveyed.
(2) "Historical cemetery" means any burial site or grounds which contain within them human remains buried prior to November 11, 1889; except that (a) cemeteries holding a valid certificate of authority to operate granted under RCW 68.05.115 and 68.05.215, (b) cemeteries owned or operated by any recognized religious denomination that qualifies for an exemption from real estate taxation under RCW 84.36.020 on any of its churches or the ground upon which any of its churches are or will be built, and (c) cemeteries controlled or operated by a coroner, county, city, town, or cemetery district shall not be considered historical cemeteries.
(3) "Historic grave" means a grave or graves that were placed outside a cemetery dedicated pursuant to this chapter and to chapter 68.24 RCW, prior to the effective date of this act, except Indian graves and burial cairns protected under chapter 27.44 RCW.
(4) "Cemetery" has the meaning provided in RCW 68.04.040(2).
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. Any cemetery, historical cemetery, or historic grave that has not been dedicated pursuant to RCW 68.24.030 and 68.24.040 shall be considered permanently dedicated and subject to RCW 68.24.070. Removal of dedication may only be made pursuant to RCW 68.24.090 and 68.24.100.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. The archaeological and historical division of the department of community development may grant by nontransferable certificate authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery upon application made by a preservation organization which has been incorporated for the purpose of restoring, maintaining, and protecting an abandoned cemetery. Such authority shall be limited to the care, maintenance, restoration, protection, and historical preservation of the abandoned cemetery, and shall not include authority to make burials, unless specifically granted by the cemetery board.
Those preservation and maintenance corporations that are granted authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery shall be entitled to hold and possess burial records, maps, and other historical documents as may exist. Maintenance and preservation corporations that are granted authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery shall not be liable to those claiming burial rights, ancestral ownership, or to any other person or organization alleging to have control by any form of conveyance not previously recorded at the county auditor's office within the county in which the abandoned cemetery exists. Such organizations shall not be liable for any reasonable alterations made during restoration work on memorials, roadways, walkways, features, plantings, or any other detail of the abandoned cemetery.
Should the maintenance and preservation corporation be dissolved, the archaeological and historical division of the department of community development shall revoke the certificate of authority.
Maintenance and preservation corporations that are granted authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery may establish care funds pursuant to chapter 68.44 RCW, and shall report in accordance with chapter 68.44 RCW to the state cemetery board.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) Every person who in a cemetery unlawfully or without right willfully destroys, cuts, mutilates, effaces, or otherwise injures, tears down or removes, any tomb, plot, monument, memorial, or marker in a cemetery, or any gate, door, fence, wall, post, or railing, or any enclosure for the protection of a cemetery or any property in a cemetery is guilty of a class C felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
(2) Every person who in a cemetery unlawfully or without right willfully destroys, cuts, breaks, removes, or injures any building, statuary, ornamentation, tree, shrub, flower, or plant within the limits of a cemetery is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
(3) Every person who in a cemetery unlawfully or without right willfully opens a grave; removes personal effects of the decedent; removes all or portions of human remains; removes or damages caskets, surrounds, outer burial containers, or any other device used in making the original burial; transports unlawfully removed human remains from the cemetery; or knowingly receives unlawfully removed human remains from the cemetery is guilty of a class C felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is liable in a civil action by and in the name of the state cemetery board to pay all damages occasioned by their unlawful acts. The sum recovered shall be applied in payment for the repair and restoration of the property injured or destroyed and to the care fund if one is established.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. Sections 1 through 5 of this act shall constitute a new chapter in Title 68 RCW.
Sec. 7. Section 4, chapter 247, Laws of 1943 as amended by section 1, chapter 21, Laws of 1979 and RCW 68.04.040 are each amended to read as follows:
"Cemetery" means: (1) Any one, or a combination of more than one, of the following, in a place used, or intended to be used, and dedicated, for cemetery purposes:
(a) A burial park, for earth interments.
(b) A mausoleum, for crypt interments.
(c) A columbarium, for permanent cinerary interments; or
(2) For the purposes of chapter 68.-- RCW (sections 1 through 5 of this act) only, "cemetery" means any burial site, burial grounds, or place where five or more human remains are buried. Unless a cemetery is designated as a parcel of land identifiable and unique as a cemetery within the records of the county assessor, a cemetery's boundaries shall be a minimum of ten feet in any direction from any burials therein.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. RCW 68.05.420 is recodified as a section in chapter 68.-- RCW (sections 1 through 5 of this act).
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. Section 4, chapter 44, Laws of 1989 and RCW 68.05.410 are each repealed.