Burial fees some families must pay to inter loved ones in a state veterans cemetery may soon end.
The House Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee held over a bill Monday that would eliminate those fees, which are currently set using an adjustable schedule.
Sponsored by Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), HF837 could be placed in an omnibus bill. Garofalo told members that although burial fees can currently be waived, the time is right to stop them altogether.
“Given the size of our budget surplus and the resources we have available, for a very modest amount of money, this would allow us to waive those burial fees for spouses and dependents of those who have served our country,” he said.
A fiscal note on the proposal that arrived shortly before the meeting began, estimates eliminating the fees would cost $661,000 during the upcoming biennium and $786,000 for fiscal years 2026-27.
Jack Schlichting, whose wife served as pilot in the National Guard, said his neighbor, who also served and was deployed, brought the issue to his attention and made the point that the spouse often carries as heavy a burden as the veteran.
“So then upon death, and it’s not a significant amount of money, but it’s a stress level that they’ve already gone through when they were a spouse, and now they’re being put through stress again at a burial time, or their family is,” Schlichting said. “With the situation financially, this seems like something, as a state, we could do very easily.”