Proposed Legislation on Neglected, Abandoned and Unlicensed Cemeteries in the State of Virginia

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We the undersigned request the approval of the Proposed Legislation on Neglected, Abandoned and Unlicensed Cemeteries in the State of Virginia.

This proposed act, which may be cited as the "Neglected, Abandoned and Unlicensed Cemetery Act" (proposed/noted as Chapter 3, Article 22A,
57-22A-1), reads in part the following:

(a) The care accorded the remains of deceased persons reflects respect and regard for human dignity as well as cultural, spiritual, and religious values. The General Assembly declares that human remains and burial objects are not property to be owned by the person or entity which owns the land or water where the human remains and burial objects are interred or discovered, but human remains and burial objects are a part of the finite, irreplaceable, and nonrenewable cultural heritage of the people of Virginia which should be protected.

(b) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the provisions of this chapter be construed to require respectful treatment of human remains in accord with the equal and innate dignity of every human being and consistent with the identifiable ethnic, cultural, and religious affiliation of the deceased individual as indicated by the method of burial or other historical evidence or reliable information.

We ask the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to approve this proposed legislation to protect all private/family/non-profit cemeteries, particularly those cemeteries which are no longer on property owned by family members, but still frequently visited by family members, researchers, genealogists, and/or historians. These cemeteries contain the remains of Virginia's forebearers. Men, women and children, all who made great sacrifices in a variety of ways to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Many of these cemeteries contain the remains of Native Indians, founders of many areas within Virginia, African-born slaves and their descendants, Revolutionary War heroes and other war Veterans having served in such wars as the War of 1812, War Between the States/Civil War, World War I and even World War II. Please show them the due respect and decency they deserve and approve this proposed legislation so they may, once again, rest in peace.