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Rotting bodies and fake ashes are prompting state lawmakers to pass regulations on funeral homes

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers have passed a sweeping bill aimed at overhauling the state’s lax oversight of funeral homes after a series of horrific incidents including sold body parts, fake ashes and the discovery of 190 decomposing bodies.

These cases devastated hundreds of already grieving families and encouraged lawmakers to pass the bill. The impetus for change came after the discovery in October 2023 of 190 bodies in various states of decomposition at a funeral home in Penrose, Colorado.

Below is News5’s extensive timeline of events that took place at Penrose Funeral Home.

The bill will go to Democratic Governor Jared Polis’ desk for signature after the Senate passed it on Monday on third reading without amendments.

Colorado’s current funeral home regulations are among the weakest in the nation. News5 took a deep dive into what such licensing might look like.

WATCH: An inside look at the effort to obtain funeral director licensing in Colorado

If signed into law, the bill would give regulators much greater enforcement power over funeral homes and require routine inspections of facilities, including shutters.

AP Writer Jesse Bedayn contributed to this report.
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