Assemblymember Steck Urges Governor Hochul to Sign Legislation to Eliminate the Electronic Death Registration Fee

Assemblymember Phil Steck urges Governor Kathy Hochul to sign his bill to eliminate the electronic death registration fee (A4439) into law. His legislation would remove the $20 electronic death registration fee, which has become a financial burden on our state’s funeral homes since it was enacted in 2013. The law stipulates that funeral homes must bear the entire cost of the fee, which totals in the thousands for an average sized funeral home.

“It is rare in New York State that fees or taxes are eliminated, especially on things that affect all citizens,” said Assemblymember Steck. "For this reason, I am especially proud to have passed this bill with unanimous support for the second straight year to remove the $20 fee required to be collected for each burial, removal, or transfer permit issued on and remitted to the State to fund the State's Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS)."

In 2013, New York enacted legislation to establish the EDRS for collecting, storing, recording, transmitting, amending, correcting, and authenticating information relating to deaths in the state, excluding New York City. Due to fiscal challenges at the time, funeral directors agreed to support establishing and implementing the EDRS through a $20 fee for each burial and removal permit issued.

“This fee amounts to a perpetual $20 per death tax collected by the state and paid by our funeral homes. It is estimated that between $1.5 million and $2 million has been collected by the Department of Health (DOH) each year since 2013," explained Steck. "This means since 2013, DOH has collected over $12.5 million since the EDRS fee was established- more than double the State's estimated cost of the EDRS. Especially now that they system has been up and running for a few years, it is long past time to repeal this burdensome fee on our funeral homes."

“We applaud Assemblymember Steck for his vigilance in working to remove this outmoded fee and join him in urging that his needed legislation becomes law”, said Randy McCullough, Deputy Executive Director of the NYS Funeral Directors Association. “New York is the only state that built an electronic death registration system by way of funds from small business funeral homes - and without using any state funding whatsoever.”

Assemblymember Steck’s legislation was delivered to the Governor on Monday and awaits her signature.