Below is a transcript of the floor debate and vote in the Arizona House of Representatives on March 11, 2004, regarding Representative Stump's Bill to regulate cryonics. The transcript was made by Charles Platt on March 12, 2004.
Note: This is not an official transcript. It was prepared from an MP3 audio file and has not been verified with official state sources. I welcome any corrections. I omitted routine statements by the Chair when she calls upon people to speak. Everything else is included.
Chair: The Clerk will read the next bill on the calendar together with committee recommendations.
Chair: The Chair will recognize Representative Stump to move House Bill 2637.
Stump: Thank you Madam Chairman. I move that when the committee writes its report on House Bill 2637 it will see that it passes recommendation.
Chair: The chair will recognize Representative Gullett for the Health Amendment.
Gullett: Thank you Madam Chairman, I move that the Health Committee Amendment be adopted.
Chair: The Chair will recognize Representative Stump for a substitute Floor Amendment to the Health Committee amendment.
Stump: Thank you Madam Chair, I move to withdraw the First Substitute Amendment to the Health Committee Amendment to House Bill 2637--
Chair: Do you need to withdraw the motion now, because you made a motion to withdraw?
Chair: We don't need to make a motion to withdraw, you're not offering that one, so offer the one you're offering.
Stump: Thank you Madam Chair. I move the Number Two Substitute Amendment to the Health Committee Amendment to House Bill 2637.
Stump: Yes, thank you Madam Chair. This amendment keeps cryonics facilities within the anatomical gift act. At the same time the language enables, frankly, the organ procurement folks to be neutral on the bill. It also adds other elements that Arizona's sole cryonics facility indicated they wanted, which you can see in C 1, 2, and so on.
Chair: The chair recognizes representative Gullett.
Gullett: Thank you Madam Chairman. I rise in support of the Stump Floor Amendment Substitute Amendment to the Health Committee Amendment. As he said it represents a considerable amount of discussion and negotation with stakeholders, and it may not be perfect yet but I think that this, with this amendment that we can move this bill forward and continue our work.
Chair: The Chair recognizes Representative Lopez.
Lopez: Thank you Madam Chair. Will Mr. Stump yield?
Stump: Madam Chair, er, you bet.
Lopez: Thank you. Madam Chair, Mr. Stump, would you be able to tell me whether or not with this amendment, would Alcor have unfettered access to the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act?
Stump: This amendment--the Number Two Amendment allows them still to use the Anatomical Gift Act.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Mr. Stump, would they have _unfettered_ access to the UAGA?
Stump: Madam Chair, Ms. Lopez, our language, if you'll note on 4 E, says an affidavit is required to be licensed pursuant to this section ... should not be considered an organ procurement agency or organ procurement organization as defined in section 36, 841. What this amendment does is make certain that cryonics facilities are actually not both of those things, while at the same time preserving their access to the Uniform Gift Act.
Lopez: Thank you, Mr. Stump.
Chair: The Chair recognizes Representative Straughn.
Straughn: Madam Chair will Mr. Stump yield to a question.
Stump: Madam Chair I am happy to yield to a question.
Straughn: Madam Chair and Representative Stump, Alcor says that the funeral board and Alcor have a verbal understanding that assures that the Funeral Board will conduct oversight of Alcor. Alcor also says that the Funeral Board is opposed to this bill. Could you tell me if you are aware of whether or not that's true?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, both of those comments are not accurate. Rudy Thomas, the executive director of the Funeral Board, assured me actually today that he is in support of this bill and that there was in fact no verbal agreement, contrary to what some of the messages you may have received indicated.
Straughn: Madam Chair, Mr. Stump, did you not have any stakeholder meetings?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, I had something on the order of four or five stakeholder meetings, and the entity--entities--affected by this legislation were aware of this legislation being in process since October 2003, and we have had several stakeholder meetings since January.
Straughn: Madam Chair and Representative Stump, Alcor also says that the bill is a solution without a problem. Are you aware that in Los Angeles the police department is investigating Alcor for allegedly hastening the death of an AIDS patient, and are you aware that a request has been made to the city of Scottsdale to investigate alleged mutilation of a body at Alcor?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, yes I am.
Straughn: Thank you Madam Chair.
Chair: The Chair recognizes Representative Hanson.
Hanson: Thank you Madam Chair. I do rise in opposition to the amendment and ultimately the bill. I'm not doing this without a lot of thought and knowledge on the part of the sponsor of the bill. I indicated when this was first brought up to me last November that I thought it was a bad idea, that any similarity between the Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers and what Alcor does is purely coincidental, I thought it was placing unneeded government on a very small and specific industry, that people were paying an awful lot of money to take part of it and they probably knew what they were getting into. Thank you.
Chair: Thank you. The Chair recognizes Representative Lopez.
Lopez: Madam Chair, will Mr. Straughn yield?
Straughn: Yes ma'am, I yield.
Lopez: Thank you. Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, has the leadership of Alcor ever indicated to you that they do not wish to be regulated at all, that they have no desire to be regulated?
Straughn: Not directly, no.
Lopez: Thank you. Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, are you aware that Alcor has no objection to being regulated but that they do have concerns about this bill and how it would regulate them, and the lack of definition of cryonics in this bill and so on and so forth. Are you aware of that?
Straughn: Madam Chair and Ms. Lopez, I can imagine that they are opposed to being regulated, just as I can imagine a number of other business entities that are opposed to being regulated. I can imagine several reasons why people don't want any government agency to have oversight of what they are doing. But Madam Chair and Ms. Lopez, I still think that it's important to have oversight and to make sure that a company abides by the laws of our state.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, Alcor is not averse to being regulated. They just do not believe that this bill would meet the needs of their business. That is the problem with this bill. Are you aware of that Mr. Straughn?
Straughn: Madam Chair, Ms. Lopez, I disagree with you, I don't think that's the reason why they object to this legislation.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, what would be the reason they would object to this legislation?
Straughn: In my opinion, Madam Chair and Ms Lopez, they object to legislation because they want to be able to do their own thing without being responsible to any other entity.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, are you aware that they already operate under many regulations? They have to conform with the requirements of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, with their nonprofit regulations, with all kinds of other regulations that are put upon them by the City of Scottsdale, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Are you aware Mr. Straughn, that they have to operate under those regulations?
Straughn: Madam Chair, Ms. Lopez, I am not aware of any specific legislation in the City of Scottsdale, or city ordinances that would govern the way Alcor handles their property, so to speak. And I think that that would be an issue for the state to address, since they are no doubt getting these bodies from across the state.
Lopez: [Lopez begins, Straughn interrupts, the Chair states that Lopez has the floor.]
Lopez: Thank you. Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, the issue is not whether or not they want to be regulated. They are already regulated under many regulating agencies. The issue is the demands that this legislation would put on their regulation. Are you aware that they have concerns about the demands that this legislation would put on their organization with regards to regulation?
Straughn: Madam Chair, Ms. Lopez, I am aware that they have problems with it, but I don't think that that's a reason not to require them to abide by the law, that we set as legislators.
Lopez: Thank you Madam Chair. I would just say again, Alcor is not averse to being regulated, it's the nature of this regulation. Thank you.
Chair: The Chair will recognize Representative Thompson.
Thompson: Thank you Madam Chair. Will Representative Stump rise to questions, please?
Stump: I will yield happily.
Thompson: Representative Stump, we were both present at a health committee meeting on February 26th of this year, and were you aware that the bill passed out, as amended, which is in its current form, eleven-zero-zero with one absence? Were you aware that it passed out, all ayes?
Stump: Madam Chair, Representative Thompson, yes, I am aware.
Thompson: Madam Chair, Mr. Stump, were you also aware that all parties who testified on the bill, including representatives from Alcor, said that the amendment satisfied all their concerns with the bill at that time?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Thompson, I told the parties at the time that I would offer an amendment to extend the effective date to 9/1/05, and agreed to continue to negotiate other issues, so, yes, I am aware.
Thompson: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Chair: Is there any further discussion before closing comments? Representative Lopez?
Lopez: Thank you Madam Chair. I rise in opposition to this amendment and I was in the Health Committee meeting where this bill was discussed, and the reason that we came in at the final hour in support of the bill with the amendment was because there were to be further amendments that would be offered on the floor that would satisfy Alcor. Unfortunately this amendment does not meet the needs of Alcor and its members. And so I must oppose this amendment. Thank you.
Chair: Is there any further discussion before closing comments? Thank you. Representative Stump will you like closing comments?
Stump: Thank you Madam Chair. I would just add to the last point that negotiation does mean a willingness to compromise on _both_ sides. I would also add that I don't feel the cryonics industry should be exempt from oversight, much as any other industry needs a small modicum of oversight. And I would appreciate your support on this bill. Thank you.
Chair: The Chair will recognize Representative Downing for questions on closing comments.
Downing: Would Representative Stump yield to a question?
Stump: Madam Chair, I will yield.
Downing: Thank you Representative Stump, could there possibly be some confusion about what kind of a business Alcor is running? Whether or not it is actually in the funeral business or the medical research business?
Chair: Representative Downing, your question needs to be relevant to closing remarks. Was it?
Downing: I thought it was. Can someone tell me why it wasn't relevant?
Chair: Representative Stump, you may answer if you wish.
Stump: Thank you Madam Chairman, Mr. Downing. I do believe there is a connection as a matter of fact, and I do believe that connection is well established and there is a precedent. As you may know, the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services issued a cease-and-desist order to the Clinton-Township-based Cryonics Institute. One Andrew Metcalf said, quote, "You are still storing bodies in a final resting place until science comes up with something to revive these people. What's the difference if you entomb them in a crypt or mausoleum in granite or marble?" So I do think there is not only a conceptual connection between the Funeral Board and Alcor, but I also believe there should be a statutory one as well.
Downing: Madam Chairman, Representative Stump, in further support of the idea that there may be a need for some regulatory issues here, is there ambiguity in Alcor's literature as to whether people that are deceased are patients or dead? Which one they are?
Chair: Representative Stump--and as a reminder, we will still have an opportunity on the bill as a whole. This is on the amendment itself.
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Downing, the [inaudible] patients are legally dead, but in regard to your question, I believe you would have to ask the entity itself.
Downing: My question was whether or not in their literature they refer to the people that are in cryonics storage as "patients."
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Downing, yes I do believe they do.
Downing: Madam Chair, this is relevant to the closing because it's germane directly--
Chair: Representative Downing, we will have an opportunity if you want to further discuss the bill, right now we're on the amendment. We're restricting debate to closing remarks. I'll call on you again in a few moments. The question before you is the Substitute Floor--the Stump Floor Amendment dated 3pm on 3/11, this is a Substitute Floor Amendment to the Health Committee Amendment. All those in favor will vote aye. [pause] All those opposed will vote nay. [pause] It appears the ayes have it, do have it, and so ordered. The Chair will recognize Representative Gullett to move the Health Committee Amendment as amended. Although I'm sorry, we don't, because it was a Substitute Floor Amendment, that's correct. The Chair will recognize Representative Stump to move the Stump Floor Amendment to the bill.
Stump: Thank you Madam Chair, I move that the Stump Floor Amendment to House Bill 2637 be adopted.
Chair: Thank you, explanation please.
Stump: Yes, Madam Chair, thank you, this is language that I committed to in the Health Committee, and it provides for a delayed effective date after September of next year as opposed to December 31st of this year, which, the intention being this would give everyone plenty of time to work out the kinks, and, that's that!
Chair: Thank you. Any further discussion on amendment, the Stump Floor Amendment to the bill? Hearing none, the question before you is the Stump Floor Amendment to House Bill 2637. All those in favor will vote aye. [pause] Those opposed will vote nay. [pause] It appears the ayes have it, do have it, and so ordered. The chair will recognize Representative Stump to move the bill as amended.
Stump: Thank you Madam Chair, I move that when the committee as a whole writes its report it recommends that House Bill 2637 as amended do pass.
Chair: Any further discussion? Representative Lopez.
Lopez: Thank you Madam Chair. I must rise in opposition to this bill. I do want to commend the sponsor of this bill for his desire to have some oversight and regulation of the cryonics industry and at Alcor in Scottsdale. I want to remind folks that I don't believe we're here to debate the merits of cryonics. I think that that's something for other folks to decide. We're here to talk about oversight and regulation. It's been unfortunate that some of the members, who, as Representative Hanson stated, have paid some money to be members of Alcor, have, you know, have been really negative in terms of their emails about the sponsor of this bill. But I think that they're operating at that level because of their concerns. This is an issue that affects the very life and death that they have. And so I believe that that's why we've had this negativity. But the leadership of Alcor has not been negative with the sponsor of this bill. We just adopted an amendment that would postpone the implementation until September of 05. I guess the question I'm asking of myself is, if we're going to delay implementation until September of 05, wouldn't it be better served for this to be worked on during the interim, for the sponsor of the bill to call all of the parties together and work on this and to iron out all the differences and to make sure that legislation to be introduced in January of next year that would meet the needs of everyone, of the state of Arizona, of Alcor and other parties that are affected. The other issue--another tack that could be taken would be to further study this within the next few weeks and to do something in the Senate with this bill. On March 4th I attended a stakeholders meeting and was the only legislator there, where all of the stakeholders were present, and where all of the stakeholders agreed that they thought the best thing to do with this particular bill, because of so many concerns about it, would be to do a striker in the Senate and to make sure that everybody was on board with it. There has been no animosity between the Funeral Board and Alcor, as a matter of fact just last Saturday the Funeral Board President and Executive Director were guests and participants at an Alcor board meeting. And they were negotiating and talking about the future of this legislation and about regulation and oversight of Alcor. The amendment does remove the objections of the organ procurement groups, but they actually, once that's been taken out of the loop, contrary to what some folks may have been told, really have no position on this bill because it does not impact them. It does seem to me that we need to really work on crafting legislation that would provide the oversight and accountability for the cryonics industry without doing something that would negatively impact their mission and goals and it would negatively impact their members. And so for that reason I do stand in opposition to this bill, and I would hope that we can work on this further and come to some sort of amicable agreement where all parties involved could be supportive of the agreement. Thank you.
Chair. Thank you. The chair recognizes Representative Straughn.
Straughn: Thank you Madam Chair. I rise in support of this bill. I think that the state does have a responsibility to regulate this type of a business, we already do have regulations that pertain to how you handle dead bodies in this state, and I find it difficult to tell the difference between what Alcor is doing in Scottsdale and what the man did up in Northern Arizona when he had his deceased wife's body in his deep freeze out on the back porch. And I think we actually have a responsibility to people in this state to speak out on this issue and have some type of regulation so that people know what is allowed and what is not permitted. And I stand in support of the bill. Thank you.
Chair: The chair recognizes Representative Farnsworth.
Farnsworth: Madam Chair, I rise in support of this bill. I think that if we really think about it, from the inception of this country and even back in the old country, the Mother Country, we recognize that it was important for the regulation of disposing of human remains. And that has been a tradition in public policy because we understand the importance of making sure that that's done in an appropriate way. The only thing that Mr. Stump is doing is making sure that that continues and is applied to everybody. So, I think that this bill is limited in scope, it's reasonable, it's fair, it has a positive application, and I don't think it stops anybody from engaging in this business, it just says you are going to have to do it in a way that is reasonable and that is applied in all cases when we deal with those who are deceased. So I rise in support.
Chair: The chair recognizes representative Downing.
Downing: Thank you. I rise in support of this bill also. I sense, I find myself, like much of the public, a little unnerved by the idea of some of the literature that I have looked at, the idea of extending life, the idea of reviving life, certainly some scientific methods--as I searched, as I started to look at this, this is why I think it needs to be regulated, as a preface to what I'm saying. I searched and tried to find, I met with Alcor earlier this afternoon, I tried to find some link to major university research, that would indicate that what's going on is science, and not the area of a dead body as someone just suggested. Because that's the issue here. It really is. [inaudible] Until somebody comes back from the dead I'm almost convinced that this bill is in the right framework, and I think there's other ways to come back from the dead than to get frozen. I went through some of the scientific literature that they provided me, I found, I couldn't find any, other than references to, at the cellular level, I couldn't find any serious, what I could consider, references to the major scientific journals. And so I would think this is a matter that needs regulation, needs attention, needs attention even beyond this bill, people are easily persuaded, they are afraid, people are afraid of dying, I understand that, and that's why they seek out another solution, and this solution brings money into an industry in our state, and in that case, the solution needs first-hand attention from this body. And I applaud Representative Stump for bringing it, through this first bill, and I think there will be others, to our attention. I think that anything that puts claims of science in our community has to prove that it has a link with the scientific community, and up to this point, and I can stand wrong, but up to this point, I'm not convinced that what we're looking at is science. There's a fine line between science and just salesmanship. So, I think, and I'm also concerned--one other point. I'm very concerned about the legalities that are going on, in these, if these bodies that are being frozen, if they anticipate that they are going to bring them back from the dead, I'm concerned whether, what happens to their assets. I understand some of those are for cryonics, but I'm also concerned as to whether or not their assets are frozen just as their bodies are. Thank you.
Chair: The Chair will recognize Representative Lopez.
Lopez: Thank you Madam Chair. Will Mr. Straughn yield?
Lopez: Thank you. Madam Chair, Representative Straughn, during your remarks you talked about a man in Flagstaff who put his wife in the freezer I believe. Is that correct, Mr. Straughn?
Straughn: Madam Chair, Representative Lopez, I'm not sure if it was Flagstaff or what part of the state that was from, but I remember that news [inaudible].
Lopez: Thank you, Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, are you familiar with the procedures used at Alcor for cryopreservation?
Straughn: Madam Chair, Ms. Lopez, no I am not, nor am I aware of the--the way he did the freezing of that body.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Straughn, are you aware that at Alcor, when cryopreservation is done of a client, that there are neurosurgeons and other surgeons involved in performing this procedure?
Straughn: Madam Chair, Ms. Lopez, you mean the mutilation of the body?
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Straughn, my question was, are you aware that there are physicians and neurosurgeons who are involved in the cryopreservation, which involves decapitation?
Straughn: I wanted to clarify that, if you're talking about the mutilation of the body, removing the head or whatever they do with it.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Straughn, are you aware that, with regard to cryopreservation, that sometimes that does involve separating the head from the body in order to have a more solid preservation, a more appropriate preservation? And that the members who have chosen that have chosen that freely and voluntarily?
Straughn: Madam Chair, that is my understanding.
Lopez: Thank you. Madam Chair, Representative Straughn, knowing then that we have physicians and neurosurgeons who are actually performing a medical operation, would you then say that that's comparable to the man who froze his wife?
Straughn: Unless those--the operation that is being done is governed by the same medical standards as working on somebody in a hospital, then yes, it would be equated to the same thing as an untrained person doing those procedures. Because they're not [inaudible].
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Straughn, these are physicians who operate under medical guidelines. Are you aware of that?
Straughn: No, I am not, and I don't think that they're required to operate under the same guidelines as they do in an operating room.
Lopez: Madam Chair, I would just state that I think that there's a lot of misinformation about the techniques that are used at Alcor. And so that I would disagree with those concerns that have been put forward.
Chair: Representative Thompson?
Thompson: Thank you Madam Chair. I would like to rise in support of this bill and commend the sponsor for trying to have some regulation and procedures. It's got a lot of negative emails and press going around about the sponsor, which as a fellow freshman, and having been there myself, I commend Mr. Stump for maintaining his composure, and I would also like to know, I think I just heard that the department of health services database, and there are neurosurgeons present, this is a surgical procedure. I am unaware that Alcor is licensed as a health-care facility to provide surgical services. I don't see their license in the database. So if that is something, perhaps I can work with the sponsor in the interim to insure that that type of licensure takes place. Thank you.
Chair: The Chair will recognize Representative Downing if you have a question.
Downing: I have a question. Would Representative Lopez yield for a question please?
Lopez: Madam Chair, yes I will.
Downing: Thank you. Representative Lopez, you made reference to the fact that these procedures that are being done are being done by doctors, and they're medical procedures. Is that correct?
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Downing, yes. All doctors are licensed and regulated by the Board of Medical Examiners, and therefore must follow those procedures.
Downing: Madam Chair, Representative Lopez, if you perform a medical procedure on a body that is dead, isn't that normally called an autopsy?
Lopez: Madam Chair, under some circumstances it might be, but under the circumstances at Alcor this is called cryopreservation. I would just like to remind Mr. Downing that in the past there have been times when people were presented with some sort of information that they thought might be scientific fiction, that it would never come to pass. For instance I would say probably in 1940 if you told a doctor that they could transplant a heart, that someday they would be able to transplant a heart, or transplant the lungs or the liver, that they would have looked at you incredulously and thought, you've got to be living in some kind of, weird kind of space to think that this might ever happen. And for us to make judgment about the procedures that Alcor is using, in the name of science and research and for the betterment of humanity, I think that's very inappropriate.
Downing: Madam Chair, Representative Lopez, thank you very much, and I'm wondering--I know we get a lot of promises on television, there's weight loss programs and everything else, that call themselves scientific, can we assume that anything that parades around with the title "science" is science, and that's what the public should believe? Especially if they're going to put their hard-earned dollars in storage.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Downing, I would just say that there are an awful lot of scientists, neurosurgeons, physicians, who are involved with Alcor not only here in Arizona but around the world, we had testimony from a scientist who came all the way from Oxford, England to testify on behalf of Alcor. And so, Madam Chair, Representative Downing, I do believe that what they are doing is science, and just because we don't believe it doesn't mean it isn't so.
Downing: Madam Chair, Representative Lopez, is it possible that people have been razzle-dazzled by an English accent and the person presenting themselves as a research associate, do you think, do you understand the difference, do you think the other members here, between a research associate and a professor at Cambridge or Oxford?
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Downing, my response is that this individual who testified in the Health Committee is not the only person who is involved doing the research, who is involved with looking at this issue of cryonics, to better the lives of humanity.
Downing: Madam Chair, Representative Lopez, do you think that this body has an obligation to protect the public and regulate industries in order to protect them from sham and maybe unethical practices?
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Downing, I agree, and I agree with Alcor that they are not averse to any kind of oversight or regulation, but this is not the manner in which to do it, and that parties need to come to the table and to sit down and work out an appropriate agreement that would include a definition of cryonics and cryopreservation that would regulate them in such a way as to protect the interests of their members and of the organization.
Downing: Madam Chair, Representative Lopez, in science we have something called double-blind trials. And that's where we look at a placebo versus something else. Do you think, in order to submit to a regulatory framework, would a company like Alcor submit to a trial where we have one person who's frozen and one who's not, and to see whether they can bring one back to life, right here in this room? Or in the state.
Lopez: Madam Chair, Representative Downing, I don't know that I can answer that question, I'm not sure that a double-blind experiment would be applicable in this case. Thank you Madam Chair.
Downing: Thank you. And I appreciate Representative Lopez--
Chair: Representative Downing, you already made a statement.
Downing. I know, I'm saying I'm thanking her, that's what I'm doing. I'm saying I'm thanking Representative Lopez and the other members, for putting this issue out before the public.
Chair: Representative Robson?
Robson: Thank you Madam Chairman. Will Representative Stump yield?
Stump: Madam Chair, I will yield.
Robson: Thank you Madam Chair and Representative Stump, I'm happy that we're having this lively discussion. And now I'd like to bring you back to the issue of this bill. If you would, for me, and I recognize that there are other notable people that have been in a cryonics state for many years, I understand Walt Disney, we've heard a lot about Ted Williams, and I'm sure there's many others who believe in this science or aspect of being able to come back at a future time when I guess all the things align in the right direction. But if you could for me a little bit, help me out with your bill, as to why you're bringing it forward, and basically, the amendments that you've placed on it.
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Robson, thank you, I appreciate that opportunity. As I've said before, I do believe we need to insure accountability, and a minimum oversight of cryonics facilities in Arizona, and I'm proud of the fact that this has been a bipartisan effort, and as I've said before I think it's morally imperative that we assure the highest levels of integrity, in an industry that deals with families who are dealing with lost loved ones. This bill has been the fruit of five months of study, we've had stakeholder meetings since January, as a result of those facts and in relation to some of the other comments made, I don't feel there is a need to delay this bill further, and as it now stands, we really have no way of knowing if standards in cryonics facilities are being met. I don't think this is acceptable. Some have said, well, there have been no problems with cryonics facilities, but I think today you've seen there are indeed problems, and I would argue that the claim we know of no problems presupposes the method by which we can discover problems, and I think this bill will do precisely that. And I do think, as I mentioned earlier, there is a precedent for the State of Arizona to take action in this regard. Florida has taken action, Michigan has taken action, and I must say that these amendments address many of the concerns that Alcor has presented to me. They have been offered as always in good faith, and I would have to question again why some feel they should be exempt from oversight.
Robson: Madam Chairman, Representative Stump, do you believe that putting this under the auspices of the Funeral--what is it, the Funeral Board--would really prevent this industry from continuing?
Stump: Madam Chairman, Mr. Robson, no I do not, similarly based on the precedents that have been established in other states. And based on the assurances that the Funeral Board has given me that they will exercise all due care in relation to their oversight of Alcor. As you have heard, they have been in talks with Alcor. Until recently, the talks had been going well. As you may have heard, at the last minute there was an offer of a certificate of--sorry, pardon me, a memorandum of understanding, this was a surprise to me, and frankly a surprise to the Funeral Board, that they had been told they were in total assent with it, I spoke with legal counsel and they informed me the other day that this memorandum essentially would be unenforceable and worthless. Hence the need for legislation.
Robson: Madam Chairman, Representative Stump, does this preclude the Funeral Board from getting the expertise that's necessary to understand this method and to be able to get it to integrate within it, within its auspices?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Robson, let me for clarity read you a few of the issues that the Funeral Board would be interested in pursuing. My intention and their intention is to apply a very light touch, and certainly the public can participate in the rule making process. Some of their concerns relate to issues of proper consent, proper disposal of remains, if a neuropreservation has occurred in which the head is removed, to insure that the body is properly disposed of, and I would add that the bodies are remains at that point, and hence the logical connection again with the Funeral Board is established. Some of the other issues: Documentation of authorizations, making sure a person is aware of the Anatomical Gift Act, aware of its components, insuring that there is verification of the crematory process, in other words prove that when the bodies--the heads have been removed the bodies are cremated and disposed of properly, insuring that a hazardous waste disposal process is intact, and issues of that sort. So, you know, I would also add that just as the Medical Board does not dictate the practice of medicine, the Funeral Board will not in any way dictate the practice of cryonics.
Robson: Madam Chairman, Representative Stump, based upon the statements that have been made, do you feel these are a fair representation of the direction you wanted to go with your bill or do you feel there may have been some other areas which you need to clarify?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Robson, which statements were you referring to specifically?
Robson: Well, I mean, it's been suggested that er, Alcor could possibly not be able to operate, things of that nature. The inferences that have been basically made toward the bill that potentially you're regulating an industry that doesn't really need regulation, or things of that nature.
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Robson, I've got a little trouble hearing you, but I do believe that it's a fair bill, and some of the claims, as you know, that have been made, regarding the negotiation process, as I've said before, I have done all of the compromising here. I have negotiated, and as I've said before, negotiation means willingness to compromise on both sides. I don't believe negotiation involves compromise only on my side. And it is my feeling quite frankly that the parties involved, specifically Alcor, really wanted me to rewrite the bill after it passed the Health Committee.
Robson: Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Chair: The Chair recognizes Representative Nichols.
Nichols: Madam Chair, will Representative Stump yield to a question.
Stump: Madam Chair, I will happily yield.
Nichols: Thank you Madam Chair, Representative Stump. As mentioned before, I understand that the fire department has inspected or can inspect facilities of this type, or, like Alcor? Can you give me some understanding of that, or an explanation?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Nichols, yes, Rural Metro Fire Department have engaged in inspections, but I would argue that checking out sprinkler systems and all the rest is not equivalent to true state oversight. I would argue that we need a stable board, a permanent mechanism to provide oversight. Scottsdale didn't find any illegal discharge in the city sewer system, there were some allegations that some waste products were disposed of improperly. Again that's all well and good, however, that is quite a distance between that sort of oversight and the sort of oversight that can be provided by a board.
Nichols: Madam Chair, Mr. Stump, so if I understand you correctly, you're telling me the fire departments are doing inspections more for building safety and health safety, not necessarily inspections of the cryonics facility for proper protocol with the deceased?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Nichols, that would be my understanding.
Nichols: Thank you Madam Chair, Mr. Stump.
Chair: Thank you. Representative Straughn?
Straughn: Would Mr. Stump yield to a question?
Stump: Madam Chair I will yield.
Straughn: Madam Chair, Representative Stump, I just want to clear up a couple of issues. Are you using this bill as an attempt to shut down Alcor's business?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, absolutely not, and I've taken great care to insure that that would not happen, and Alcor and I had a productive meeting a couple of weeks ago in which we discussed their use of the Anatomical Gift Act. I agreed with them that if we were to remove this from their purview that it would put them out of business. And so no, I am the last person that would want to put any company out of business.
Straughn: Madam Chair, Representative Stump, are you attempting to stop, in any way, scientific research?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, absolutely not, and if I believed this bill did that, I would not be sponsoring it.
Straughn: Madam Chair, Mr. Stump, are you using this bill in any way as an attempt to prevent organ donation?
Stump: Madam Chair, Mr. Straughn, absolutely not, if I believed this bill did that, I would not be sponsoring it.
Straughn: Thank you Madam Chair, thank you Mr. Stump.
Chair: Is there any further discussion before closing comments? Representative Stump, would you like closing comments. No? Okay. The question before you is that when the Committee as a whole writes its report, it recommends that the House Bill 2637 as amended do pass. Those in favor will vote aye. [pause] Those against will vote nay. [pause] It appears that the ayes have it, do have it, and so ordered.