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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

12.381 SAFE DISPOSITION OF DEAD HUMAN BODIES.
    Subdivision 1. Powers for safe disposition. Notwithstanding chapter 149A and Minnesota
Rules, chapter 4610, in connection with deaths related to a declared emergency, the governor may:
(1) direct measures to provide for the safe disposition of dead human bodies as may be
reasonable and necessary for emergency response. Measures may include, but are not limited
to, transportation, preparation, temporary mass burial and other interment, disinterment, and
cremation of dead human bodies. Insofar as the emergency circumstances allow, the governor
shall respect the religious rites, cultural customs, family wishes, and predeath directives of a
decedent concerning final disposition. The governor may limit visitations or funeral ceremonies
based on public health risks;
(2) consult with coroners and medical examiners, take possession or control of any dead
human body, and order an autopsy of the body; and
(3) request any business or facility authorized to embalm, bury, cremate, inter, disinter,
transport, or otherwise provide for disposition of a dead human body under the laws of this
state to accept any dead human body or provide the use of its business or facility if the actions
are reasonable and necessary for emergency management purposes and are within the safety
precaution capabilities of the business or facility.
    Subd. 2. Identification of bodies; data classification. (a) A person in charge of the body
of a person believed to have died due to a declared emergency shall maintain a written record
of the body and all available information to identify the decedent, the circumstances of death,
and disposition of the body. If a body cannot be identified, a qualified person shall, prior to
disposition and to the extent possible, take fingerprints and one or more photographs of the
remains and collect a DNA specimen from the body.
(b) All information gathered under this subdivision, other than data required for a death
certificate under Minnesota Rules, part 4601.2550, shall be death investigation data and shall
be classified as nonpublic data according to section 13.02, subdivision 9, or as private data on
decedents according to section 13.10, subdivision 1. Death investigation data are not medical
examiner data as defined in section 13.83. Data gathered under this subdivision shall be promptly
forwarded to the commissioner of health. The commissioner may only disclose death investigation
data to the extent necessary to assist relatives in identifying decedents or for public health or
public safety investigations.
History: 2002 c 402 s 14,21; 2004 c 279 art 11 s 7; 2005 c 149 s 7; 2005 c 150 s 9,14