One New Nev. Law Protects Historic Cemeteries

Jul 13, 2017

One bill signed into law by Governor Brian Sandoval during the recent legislative session will help preserve the Hillside Cemetery in Reno and all historic cemeteries. Our News Director Michelle Billman spoke with contributor Bob Conrad of ThisisReno to learn more. 

Credit ThisisReno.com

The law (AB203) restores local government oversight of cemeteries, and it requires a government entity “to make determinations before a cemetery authority may order the disinterment and removal of human remains.”

“It gives local governments power now,” said Barrie Lynn, a preservationist who helped with the legislation. “It basically makes it so somebody, such as a speculator, cannot come in and dig up remains to develop a property, which is almost what happened here.”

Previously just a cemetery authority, which, according to Lynn, could be just about anyone, oversaw cemeteries and could authorize the removal of remains.

Reno Assemblywoman Amber Joiner.

Sponsored by democrats Assemblywoman Amber Joiner and Senator Julia Ratti, the bill was pushed in part by locals wanting to preserve the Hillside Cemetery near the University of Nevada, Reno.

Sierra Memorial Gardens, which owned the land around the grave sites at Hillside Cemetery, allegedly wanted to sell the property for housing and relocate the human remains, some of whom are Reno’s historic citizens.

More than 700 human remains were being considered for disinterment, but no plans were ever announced as to where the remains would be moved. After community uproar, the Sierra Memorial Gardens’ owner indefinitely backed off on disinterment plans.

Read the rest of this story here.