Fiona Ma for State Assembly

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill on decomposable cremation urns

Sometimes legislating is a matter of life and death.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that establishes an industry-wide standard for environmentally-friendly cremation urns. Specifically, the legislation defines "scattering urn" as a container of cremated remains that dissolves within four hours of being placed at sea.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) said the bill was needed because beachgoers, surfers and swimmers throughout California were finding urns that were intact or only partially dissolved.

“AB 1777 will protect the remains of loved ones from being stranded in a vulnerable container and most importantly, it will ensure that they are peacefully laid to rest in a manner that is not only lawful, but safe for the environment,” Ma said in a statement.

According to the California Funeral Directors Assn., nearly half of Californians who die each year are cremated.