The Federal Trade Commission will hold a public workshop on November 18, 1999, to discuss issues relevant to the recently-initiated review of the Funeral Rule. The workshop conference will give the FTC staff and interested parties an opportunity to explore areas of significant controversy or divergent opinions that were raised in the written comments submitted in response to the Commission's announcement in the Federal Register on May 5, 1999, the start of the Rule review. The FTC staff will consider the views and suggestions made during the conference, in conjunction with the written comments received, in formulating its final recommendation to the Commission concerning the Funeral Rule. A notice announcing the public workshop conference will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
The review of the Funeral Rule is part of the FTC's continuous review of its Rules and Regulations. The Commission, in its May 5, 1999 Federal Register, solicited comments on the overall costs, benefits and the continuing need for the Funeral Rule. In addition, because of changes in the funeral industry, the Commission also sought comments on whether the Rule should be modified to broaden its scope to include non-traditional providers of funeral goods or services; revise or clarify the prohibition on casket handling fees; or prohibit non-declinable funeral fees.
The conference will be held on November 18, 1999, at the main FTC headquarters building, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, in Room 432. It will run from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The FTC staff will select a limited number of parties to represent the significant interests affected by the Funeral Rule. To the extent possible, the select parties will represent: funeral homes; cemeteries; monument builders; third party sellers of funeral goods; trade organizations; consumer organizations; consumers; economists and academicians; federal, state and local law enforcement and regulatory authorities; and any other interests that Commission staff may identify with viewpoints likely to be helpful to the staff and the Commission for a balanced, thorough review of the Rule and its effectiveness. The parties will be able to participate in an open discussion of the issues and ask and answer questions based on their respective comments.
The conference will be open to the general public. In addition to the selected participants, members of the public may be able to make a brief oral presentation of views on issues raised, based on the time available and the number of people who wish to make statements.
The Commission vote to publish the Federal Register notice announcing the public workshop conference was 4-0.
Copies of the news release, the Federal Register notice and other documents pertaining to the Funeral Rule Review are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
Office of Public Affairs
Bureau of Consumer Protection
(FTC Matter No. P984407)