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TEXAS FUNERAL SERVICE COMMISSION. The State Board of Embalmers was established in 1903 to license and regulate embalming. In 1938 the law was amended to include funeral directors. In 1953 the name was changed to the State Board of Morticians. The six-member board was appointed by the governor, with the concurrence of the Senate, to overlapping six year terms. Board members were required to be licensed, experienced embalmers and funeral directors, having been residents of Texas for ten years immediately preceding appointment. Members could serve no more than two terms. In addition to licensing, the board was to prescribe and maintain standards of proficiency and could revoke licenses for cause. In 1987 membership of the commission was increased to nine, of which five were required to be licensed embalmers or funeral directors having practiced in Texas for five years immediately preceding appointment. Of the five at least three had to be embalmers. At that time four members of the general public, not subject to the boards regulation, were also appointed. Members were allowed to serve only one six-year term. The board was given authority to assess penalties of up to $5,000 per violation. A sunset review commission staff recommended in 1991 that the agency be abolished and its duties transferred to the Texas Department of Health. The commission, however, recommended that the agency be retained, and legislation was passed that expanded its authority to protect the public. Makeup of the commission's board was changed to five public and four professional members, with the chairperson appointed by the governor. The Texas Funeral Service Commission was also given authority to inspect funeral homes, review complaints, and hold disciplinary hearings. Regulation of mortuary schools was moved to the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. As of 1993 the primary duties of the commission were to prescribe and maintain standards for the funeral profession, utilize a hearings officer to conduct administration hearings and impose sanctions, and to examine and license members of the profession. The commission administers about 30,000 licenses. In 1993 it had eight employees and appropriations of $325,000.

John G. Johnson

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Handbook of Texas Online, John G. Johnson, "Texas Funeral Service Commission," accessed October 20, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.