State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wisconsin > 157 > 157.055


157.055 Disposal of human remains during state of emergency relating to public health.


(1) In this section:


(a) "Funeral establishment" has the meaning given in s. 445.01 (6).


(b) "Public health authority" has the meaning given in s. 250.01 (6g).


(2) Notwithstanding ss. 69.18 (4), 445.04 (2), 445.14, 979.01 (3), (3m), and (4), 979.02, and 979.10, and subch. VII of ch. 440, during a period of a state of emergency related to public health declared by the governor under s. 323.10, a public health authority may do all of the following:


(a) Issue and enforce orders that are reasonable and necessary to provide for the safe disposal of human remains, including by embalming, burial, cremation, interment, disinterment, transportation, and other disposal.


(b) Take possession and control of any human remains.


(c) Order the disposal, through burial or cremation, of any human remains of an individual who has died of a communicable disease, within 24 hours after the individual's death and consider, to the extent feasible, the religious, cultural, or individual beliefs of the deceased individual or his or her family in disposing of the remains.


(d) If reasonable and necessary for emergency response, require a funeral establishment, as a condition of its permit under s. 445.105 (1), to accept human remains or provide the use of its business or facility, including by transferring the management and supervision of the funeral establishment to the public health authority, for a period of time not to exceed the period of the state of emergency.


(e) Require the labeling of all human remains before disposal with all available identifying information and information concerning the circumstances of death and, in addition, require that the human remains of an individual with a communicable disease be clearly tagged to indicate that remains contain a communicable disease and, if known, the specific communicable disease.


(f) Maintain or require the maintenance of a written or electronic record of all human remains that are disposed of, including all available identifying information and information concerning the circumstances of death and disposal. If it is impossible to identify human remains prior to disposal, the public health authority may require that a qualified person obtain any fingerprints, photographs, or identifying dental information, and collect a specimen of deoxyribonucleic acid from the human remains and transmit this information to the public health authority.


(g) Notwithstanding s. 59.34 (1) or 59.35 (1), authorize a county medical examiner or a county coroner to appoint emergency assistant medical examiners or emergency deputy coroners, whichever is applicable, if necessary to perform the duties of the office of medical examiner or coroner, and to prescribe the duties of the emergency assistant medical examiners or emergency deputy coroners. The term of any emergency appointment authorized under this paragraph may not exceed the period of the state emergency. A county medical examiner or county coroner may terminate an emergency appointment before the end of the period of the state emergency, if termination of the appointment will not impede the performance of the duties of his or her office.

157.055 - ANNOT.

History: 2001 a. 109; 2005 a. 31; 2009 a. 42, 282.