Small cemeteries, pending the governor’s approval, will be exempt from many strict standards imposed after a disaster at a large cemetery in Alsip. The Cemetery Oversight Act was this year deemed too much for small rural cemeteries to comply with. It was put in place after it was discovered in 2009 that employees at Burr Oak Cemetery were digging up bodies to resell the plots. State Sen. John O. Jones (R-Mount Vernon) still thinks cemetery operations shouldn’t be regulated.
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“I’m still fearful. I have a lot of small cemeteries in my district where the volunteer trustees and the like are going to say ‘Hey, I don’t want any more to do with this,’ and they’re going to walk away from it,” he says. The new bill gives religious burial grounds and small cemeteries either total or partial exemptions from the Cemetery Oversight Act, and restricts punishments only to serious violations.