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Information retrieved on September 23, 2019 6:54 AM

Council Bill Number: 116916
Ordinance Number: 123356

AN ORDINANCE regulating the commercial display of human remains, establishing that unlawful commercial display of human remains is a civil infraction, and creating a new section 14.14.010 of the Seattle Municipal Code.

Status: Passed
Date passed by Full Council: July 19, 2010
Vote: 9-0
Date of Mayor's signature: July 28, 2010
(About the signature date)

Date introduced/referred to committee: July 12, 2010
Committee: Housing, Human Service, Health, and Culture
Committee Recommendation:
Date of Committee Recommendation:
Committee Vote:


Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note to Council Bill No. 116916

Electronic Copy: PDF scan of Ordinance No. 123356


ORDINANCE _123356____

AN ORDINANCE regulating the commercial display of human remains, establishing that unlawful commercial display of human remains is a civil infraction, and creating a new section 14.14.010 of the Seattle Municipal Code.


Section 1. Findings.

The Seattle City Council finds and declares as follows:

A. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, Ch. 68.64 RCW, requires any donor and specified authorized individuals to authorize the use of anatomical gifts for transplantation, therapy, research, and education purposes.

B. Officials responsible for unclaimed human remains are required to make a good faith attempt to notify the next of kin of the decedent.

C. The public commercial display of dead human bodies must be regulated to protect individual bodily integrity, as well as the social and cultural values of the City.

It is the intent of the City Council to require persons who participate in the public commercial display of dead human bodies to provide evidence of informed consent specific to the public exhibition and display of human remains from the decedent or relatives of humans whose remains are put on display, and to provide for the continued use of human remains in the educational, medical, and scientific communities to promote human health and safety.

Section 2. A new Chapter 14.14 is added to the Seattle Municipal Code as follows: Human Dignity

Section 3. A new Section 14.14.010 of the Seattle Municipal Code is added as follows:

Commercial Display of Human Remains

A. It shall be unlawful to display to the public human remains for consideration or commercial purposes without valid written authorization from the deceased, which consent may be given in the last will of the deceased, or by a person who has the right to control the disposition of the remains pursuant to Ch. 68.50 RCW or Ch. 68.64 RCW, or any successor legislation. The Director of Financial and Administrative Services or the Director's designee shall determine the adequacy of the documentation offered to establish consent.

B. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to the display of human remains:

(1) More than 100 years old;

(2) Consisting solely of human teeth or hair;

(3) As part of the ordinary display or viewing of the deceased at a funeral establishment licensed by the Washington State Department of Licensing, or as part of a similar funeral or memorial service; or,

(4) As objects of religious veneration.

C. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that human remains in the possession of an institution accredited by the American Association of Museums or in the possession of a museum facility of an accredited college or university are held in compliance with this Section.

D. Violation of this Section shall be a civil infraction as contemplated by RCW Chapter 7.80 and subject as a Class 1 civil infraction under RCW 7.80.120(2) to a maximum monetary penalty and a default amount of $250.00 plus statutory assessments. Each day of noncompliance shall be a separate violation, and the monetary penalties shall accumulate.

E. The City Attorney may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin a continuing violation of this Section.

F. As used in this section, "commercial purposes" includes any display for which the public is charged a fee or other consideration.

Section 4. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force thirty (30) days from and after its approval by the Mayor, but if not approved and returned by the Mayor within ten (10) days after presentation, it shall take effect as provided by Seattle Municipal Code Section 1.04.020.

Passed by the City Council the ____ day of _________, 20__, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its passage this _____ day of __________, 20__.


President __________of the City Council

Approved by me this ____ day of _________, 20__.


Michael McGinn, Mayor

Filed by me this ____ day of _________, 20__.


City Clerk


JBS:JBS:FV 07/07/10

(Ver. 2)