Topeka A Lawrence legislator on Monday tried to restore funding to help bury the destitute.
But Republicans on the Kansas House Appropriations Committee rejected the move.
Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, made a plea to add $500,000 to the final budget bill “to take care of public assistance recipients who die without funds so that they can be taken care of in dignity.”
But Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said, “I don’t believe this is the state’s responsibility.”
Peck, who said he was once part-owner of a funeral home in Houston, said there are other sources of funding to help bury the poor, such as insurance, charities and relatives.
And, he said, people need to prepare for burial expenses.
“Everyone who is alive today knows they are going to pass away,” he said.
But Ballard said the state program that provides for funeral assistance is for people who don’t have the means to prepare for burial expenses.
Under the funeral assistance program, a funeral home receives about $550 for burial of a person who had been receiving state assistance and had few or no assets. Funeral homes say that amount doesn’t come near covering their costs even if the person is cremated.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal ended the program.
Ballard sought to restore enough funds that funeral homes would get about $400 per person.
But Republicans on the committee rejected the idea.