There is an old saying that goes like this:
Every system is perfectly designed to yield the results obtained.
Many of us who are members of the “Restlawn family” have tried dealing with the system that has led to the current conditions at the cemetery. We’ve contacted the owner—or made attempts to do so, anyway. We’ve pleaded with the cemetery staff and made calls to the mayor of Huron. Some folks have gone to Restlawn themselves to mow and do general clean up. We’ve posted message after message—with photographic evidence—on social media. Letters and emails have gone to the Beadle County Commissioners, and we’ve written letters to the editors of local newspapers. Our most serious efforts have been invested in detailing complaints to the Attorney General’s office.
And we’ve waited.
But, while some long-delayed markers finally arrived and at least some mowing is getting done, it seems like no real investment is being made to upgrade the sorry conditions at Restlawn.
The more we’ve studied this situation, the more we understand that the legal system in South Dakota has contributed to this outcome. The state cemetery laws are simply puny, and if we don’t like the results obtained from them, then we need to keep working on changing that system.
Some weeks ago, we posted about our first suggested legal change. This wasn’t asking for a huge new law, but rather just requested that a means of enforcement be added to a financial reporting law already on the books. Maybe you haven’t read this post, or you did, but maybe haven’t had the chance to contact SD state legislators yet. It definitely is not too late to do so! Here’s the link to the info about this:
Ok, we’re finally getting to our second suggestion. We gather that Kristi Noem has promised not to establish any new state boards for any issue if she is elected, with the belief that the various systems currently in place can do the job for South Dakota. Rather than trying to convince this frontrunner for the governor’s office to set up a new board, let’s contact her to ask that an existingboard—the South Dakota Board of Funeral Service—be expanded to have jurisdiction over cemeteries, too.
Right now, the funeral board has norole in cemetery issues, as they have told us themselves (https://www.restlawnalliance.com/information/2018/5/14/the-not-very-long-arm-of-the-law). But there is no reason that they couldn’t have this kind of authority, too, like they do in many states. The best boards, we understand, are made up of family members as well as people who are in the cemetery and funeral business.
With the election coming up, now is the time to make a pitch for this change—and that change in financial reporting, too. Contacting Kristi Noem couldn’t be easier; just go to this site: https://noem.house.gov/index.cfm/email-kristi
And if you have the chance to talk with her in person, maybe at a campaign stop, that would be even more awesome.
Please don’t be shy about pushing for this change even if you aren’t currently living in South Dakota. Our loved ones in Restlawn deserve our voices no matter where we might be located, right?