Florida Senate - 2024                                      SB 22
       By Senator Harrell
       31-00001-24                                             202422__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to animal cremation; creating s.
    3         501.961, F.S.; providing a short title; defining
    4         terms; requiring a provider of companion animal
    5         cremation services to provide certain individuals and
    6         entities with a written description of the services
    7         the provider offers; requiring the written description
    8         to include a detailed explanation of each service
    9         offered; providing that the written description may
   10         not contain false or misleading information; requiring
   11         certain persons or entities that make referrals to
   12         providers or accept deceased companion animals for
   13         cremation through a provider to make a copy of the
   14         provider’s written description of services available
   15         to owners or their representatives; providing
   16         construction; requiring certain providers to include a
   17         certification with the returned animal’s cremation
   18         remains; specifying requirements for the
   19         certification; providing that certain acts are
   20         unlawful; providing civil penalties for initial and
   21         subsequent offenses; providing circumstances under
   22         which a person commits an unfair or deceptive act or
   23         practice or an unfair method of competition in
   24         violation of certain provisions; providing for a
   25         private right of action; providing powers of the
   26         Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services;
   27         requiring that certain fines collected by the
   28         department be paid into the General Inspection Trust
   29         Fund; authorizing the department to adopt rules;
   30         providing an effective date.
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   34         Section 1. Section 501.961, Florida Statutes, is created to
   35  read:
   36         501.961 Animal cremation.—
   37         (1)SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as “Sevilla’s
   38  Law.”
   39         (2)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   40         (a)“Commingling of significant amounts of cremation
   41  remains from different companion animals” means the commingling
   42  of remains such that specific cremation remains cannot be
   43  attributed to a particular animal or the cremation remains
   44  attributed to one companion animal contain more than 1 percent
   45  by weight of cremation remains from one or more other companion
   46  animals. The term does not include the presence, in the
   47  cremation remains of a companion animal, of the remains of any
   48  creature that was on or contained within the body of that animal
   49  at the time of cremation, including parasites, insects, food, or
   50  creatures eaten by that companion animal.
   51         (b)“Communal cremation” means a cremation process in which
   52  companion animals are cremated together without effective
   53  partitions or separation during the cremation process such that
   54  the commingling of significant amounts of cremation remains from
   55  different companion animals is likely or certain to occur.
   56         (c)“Companion animal” or “animal” means a deceased animal
   57  that had a companion relationship or a pet relationship with its
   58  owner at the time of the animal’s death.
   59         (d)“Cremation remains” means the material remaining after
   60  the cremation of an animal, which may include ashes, skeletal
   61  remains, and other residue resulting from the incineration
   62  process, and which may be pulverized or otherwise processed by
   63  the provider of cremation services.
   64         (e)“Department” means the Department of Agriculture and
   65  Consumer Services.
   66         (f)“Individually partitioned cremation” means a cremation
   67  process in which the commingling of significant amounts of
   68  cremation remains from different companion animals is unlikely
   69  to occur and:
   70         1.Only one companion animal at a time is cremated in the
   71  incinerator; or
   72         2.More than one companion animal is cremated in the
   73  incinerator at the same time, but each of the animals is
   74  completely separated from the others by partitions during the
   75  cremation process.
   76         (g)“On a regular basis” means that the person or business
   77  entity referring animal owners or bringing business to a
   78  provider:
   79         1.Has an ongoing contractual or agency relationship with
   80  the provider relating to the cremation of companion animals;
   81         2.Regularly receives compensation or consideration from
   82  the provider or animal owners relating to the cremation of
   83  companion animals by the provider; or
   84         3.Refers or brings to the provider the business of more
   85  than five animal owners in an average month.
   86         (h)“Provider” means a person, company, or other entity
   87  engaging in the business of cremating deceased companion animals
   88  in this state.
   90         (a)A provider of companion animal cremation services shall
   91  provide, without charge, to all of the following a written
   92  description of the services that the provider offers:
   93         1.The owner of each deceased animal for whom the provider
   94  agrees to provide cremation services, or the person making
   95  cremation arrangements on the owner’s behalf.
   96         2.All veterinarians, pet shops, and other business
   97  entities or persons known to the provider who refer animal
   98  owners or bring deceased animals to the provider on a regular
   99  basis.
  100         3.The department.
  101         4.Any other person, upon request.
  102         (b)The written description of services:
  103         1.May be in the form of a brochure;
  104         2.Must be provided in quantities sufficient to allow its
  105  distribution to animal owners whose business is being referred
  106  or brought to the provider;
  107         3.Must include a detailed explanation of each service
  108  offered for each type or level of cremation service offered. If
  109  any part of the deceased companion animal will be removed, used,
  110  or sold by the provider before or after the cremation, the
  111  written description of services must disclose that fact; and
  112         4.May not include false or misleading information. A
  113  written description of services is misleading if it:
  114         a.Fails to include a detailed explanation of the cremation
  115  services offered or fails to include, for each type or level of
  116  cremation service offered, any of the disclosures required under
  117  this subsection;
  118         b.Uses the terms “private” or “individual” with respect to
  119  any communal cremation procedure or with respect to an
  120  individually partitioned cremation procedure that will cremate
  121  more than one companion animal at the same time;
  122         c.Uses the terms “individually partitioned” or “separate”
  123  with respect to a communal cremation process; or
  124         d.Includes any text, picture, illustration, or combination
  125  thereof, or uses any layout, typography, or color scheme, which
  126  reasonably causes confusion about the nature of the services to
  127  be provided or obstructs certain parts of the written
  128  description of services.
  131         (a)A veterinarian, pet shop, or other business entity or
  132  person referring owners of deceased animals, or persons making
  133  arrangements on an owner’s behalf, to a provider on a regular
  134  basis shall, at the time of the referral, make a copy of the
  135  provider’s written description of services available to such
  136  person.
  137         (b)A veterinarian, pet shop, or other business entity or
  138  person accepting, on a regular basis, deceased companion animals
  139  for cremation through services obtained from a provider shall
  140  make a copy of the provider’s written description of services
  141  available to each animal owner, or person making arrangements on
  142  the owner’s behalf, from whom a deceased companion animal is
  143  accepted.
  144         (c)A copy of the written description of services may be
  145  given to the animal owner, or the person making arrangements on
  146  the owner’s behalf, at the time the services are offered.
  147         (d)For purposes of this subsection, publishing or
  148  otherwise disseminating advertising for a provider of companion
  149  animal cremation services does not, in and of itself, constitute
  150  referring or bringing business to that provider.
  152  provider’s services include the return of the cremation remains
  153  of the animal, the provider must include a certification along
  154  with the returned cremation remains. The certification must
  155  declare, to the best of the provider’s knowledge and belief,
  156  that, except as otherwise specifically indicated on the
  157  certificate, the cremation and any other services specified were
  158  provided in accordance with the representations of the provider
  159  in the applicable portions of the provider’s written description
  160  of services.
  161         (6)UNLAWFUL ACTS.—It is unlawful:
  162         (a)For a provider to prepare or distribute a written
  163  description of services which the provider knows or should know
  164  to be false or misleading. A first offense is punishable by a
  165  fine of at least $1,001 but not more than $1,500, and each
  166  subsequent offense is punishable by a fine of at least $2,000
  167  but not more than $2,500.
  168         (b)To intentionally fail to prepare or distribute a
  169  written description of services as required by this section. A
  170  first offense is punishable by a fine of at least $1,001 but not
  171  more than $1,500, and each subsequent offense is punishable by a
  172  fine of at least $2,000 but not more than $2,500.
  173         (c)To knowingly make a false certification under
  174  subsection (5). A first offense is punishable by a fine of at
  175  least $1,001 but not more than $1,500, and each subsequent
  176  offense is punishable by a fine of at least $2,000 but not more
  177  than $2,500.
  179  TRADE PRACTICE.—In addition to any fine imposed under subsection
  180  (6), a person who commits an act or a practice declared to be
  181  unlawful under subsection (6) or who violates this section
  182  commits an unfair method of competition or an unfair or
  183  deceptive act or practice in violation of part II of chapter 501
  184  and is subject to the penalties and remedies provided for such
  185  violations.
  186         (8)PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.—In addition to any other
  187  penalties or remedies provided by law, a person injured by a
  188  violation of this act may bring a civil action to recover
  189  damages or punitive damages, including costs, court costs, and
  190  attorney fees. This act may not be construed to limit any right
  191  or remedy provided under law.
  192         (9)POWERS OF THE DEPARTMENT.—
  193         (a)The department may conduct an investigation of any
  194  person or provider if there is an appearance, either upon
  195  complaint or otherwise, that a violation of this section or of
  196  any rule adopted or order issued pursuant to this section has
  197  been committed or is about to be committed.
  198         (b)The department may issue and serve subpoenas and
  199  subpoenas duces tecum to compel the attendance of witnesses and
  200  the production of all books, accounts, records, and other
  201  documents and materials relevant to an examination or
  202  investigation. The department, or its duly authorized
  203  representative, may administer oaths and affirmations to any
  204  person.
  205         (c)The department may enter an order imposing one or more
  206  of the penalties set forth in subsection (6) if the department
  207  finds that a provider or a person or business entity that
  208  regularly refers animal owners to a provider, or an agent, a
  209  servant, or an employee thereof:
  210         1.Violated or is operating in violation of this section or
  211  department rule or order;
  212         2.Refused or failed, or any of its principal officers
  213  refused or failed, after notice, to produce any records of such
  214  provider, person, or business entity or to disclose any
  215  information required to be disclosed under this section or
  216  department rules; or
  217         3.Made a material false statement in response to any
  218  department request or investigation.
  219         (d)Upon a finding as set forth in paragraph (c), the
  220  department may enter an order that does one or more of the
  221  following:
  222         1.Issues a notice of noncompliance pursuant to s. 120.695.
  223         2.Issues a cease and desist order that directs the
  224  provider, person, or business entity to cease and desist
  225  specified activities.
  226         3.Imposes an administrative fine in the Class II category
  227  pursuant to s. 570.971 for each act or omission.
  228         4.Imposes an administrative fine in the Class III category
  229  pursuant to s. 570.971 for each act or omission that involves
  230  fraud or deception.
  231         (e)Except as otherwise provided in this section, the
  232  administrative proceedings that could result in the entry of an
  233  order imposing any of the penalties specified in paragraph (d)
  234  are governed by chapter 120.
  235         (f)All fines collected by the department under paragraph
  236  (d) must be paid into the General Inspection Trust Fund.
  237         (10)RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.—The department may adopt rules
  238  pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this section.
  239         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.