130th Ohio General Assembly
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H. B. No. 398As Introduced
As Introduced

125th General Assembly
Regular Session
2003-2004
H. B. No. 398


REPRESENTATIVES J. Stewart, Allen, Aslanides, Core, Hollister, McGregor, Redfern, Seitz, Setzer, Taylor, Willamowski, Olman



A BILL
To enact sections 5122.44, 5122.45, and 5122.46 of the Revised Code to require the Department of Mental Health, in coordination with specified agencies and organizations, to create compilations of the patients who died while residing at public hospitals under the Department's jurisdiction and of the cemeteries and gravesites of those patients; to require state agencies, subject to certain restrictions, to grant cemetery restoration organizations access to the death and burial records of those patients in order to facilitate the restoration of their cemeteries and gravesites; and to make other related changes.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 5122.44, 5122.45, and 5122.46 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 5122.44.  As used in sections 5122.44 to 5122.46 of the Revised Code:
(A) "Cemetery restoration organization" means any group or entity that the director of mental health recognizes under section 5122.45 of the Revised Code as satisfying the criteria for recognition as a group or entity that restores the cemeteries and gravesites of patients located on the grounds of public hospitals or on property that is not owned by the state but has been designated by the state for the burial, entombment, or inurnment of patients.
(B) "Family member" means a spouse or a parent, child, or other person related by consanguinity to a patient.
(C) "Patient" means an individual who died while residing at a public hospital.
(D) "Record of death and burial" means information in a record to the extent it specifies the name of a patient and either the date of death of the patient or the location of the burial, entombment, or inurnment of the patient. "Record", for purposes of "record of death and burial," has the same meaning as in section 149.011 of the Revised Code.
(E) "State agency" means every organized body, office, or agency established by the laws of the state for the exercise of any function of state government.
Sec. 5122.45.  (A) The department of mental health, in coordination with county and other local historical and genealogical societies, the Ohio historical society, the state library, the secretary of state, and any other relevant state and local agencies and organizations identified by the department, shall do each of the following:
(1) Determine all available records of death and burial necessary to create the most complete compilation possible of patients and create that compilation;
(2) Prepare the most complete compilation possible of the cemeteries and gravesites of patients located on the grounds of public hospitals or on property that is not owned by the state but has been designated by the state for the burial, entombment, or inurnment of patients;
(3) Assist and cooperate with cemetery restoration organizations.
(B) The director of mental health shall adopt rules under section 111.15 of the Revised Code establishing criteria and a procedure for recognizing, for purposes of sections 5122.44 to 5122.46 of the Revised Code, groups and entities that restore the cemeteries and grave sites of patients located on the grounds of public hospitals or on property that is not owned by the state but has been designated by the state for the burial, entombment, or inurnment of patients.
Sec. 5122.46.  (A) Notwithstanding any contrary provision of section 149.43 or 5122.31 of the Revised Code, and only if an inspection or copying is not precluded under division (B) of this section, records of death and burial in the possession of a state agency shall be made available to cemetery restoration organizations for inspection and copying at all reasonable times during regular business hours for the purpose of facilitating their restoration of the cemeteries and gravesites of the patients who are the subjects of the records.
(B)(1) Upon the request of a cemetery restoration organization to inspect or copy a record of death and burial, a state agency that possess the record shall cause the notice described in this division to be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the principal office of the agency is located and in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the public hospital is located to which the record of death and burial relates. The notice shall not disclose the name of the patient who is the subject of the record, but shall describe the patient as an individual who died on a specified date while residing in a specified public hospital to which the record of death and burial relates and also include each of the following:
(a) The name of and a mailing address for notification of the state agency;
(b) A statement that, under House Bill ___ of the 125th general assembly, records of death and burial in the possession of the state agency generally must be made available, upon the request of a cemetery restoration organization, for inspection and copying for the purpose of facilitating the restoration of cemeteries and gravesites of patients; that such a request has been made; and that, within two weeks after the second publication of the notice, a family member of the patient who is the subject of the record of death and burial involved may notify the agency of the family member's desire to have that patient's record withheld from the requested and any future requested inspection and copying by a cemetery restoration organization;
(c) Information on how a family member of the patient involved who desires to have that patient's record of death and burial withheld from the requested and any future requested inspection and copying by a cemetery restoration organization may notify the agency within that two-week period.
(2) Within two weeks after the second publication of the notice described in division (B)(1) of this section, a family member of the patient who is the subject of the record of death and burial may request in writing that the state agency withhold that patient's record from the requested and any future requested inspection and copying by a cemetery restoration organization under division (A) of this section. If a family member of the patient so notifies the agency, the patient's record shall not be made available for inspection or copying by the requesting cemetery restoration organization or any other cemetery restoration organization under that division.
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