As more states legalize alkaline hydrolysis, more people are questioning when water cremation will be legalized in Texas. There’s a growing interest in alkaline hydrolysis among Texans who want more end of life options. But will the public demand for water cremation be enough to make alkaline hydrolysis legal in the state?
Here’s the latest information on alkaline hydrolysis in Texas.
The Stalled Bill That Would Legalize Aquamation in Texas
If you look at the states that have legalized alkaline hydrolysis, better known as aquamation or water cremation, you’ll notice that Texas isn’t on the list. The Lone Star State falls into the “law pending” category.
Way back in 2017, House Bill 1155 was filed. The bill aimed to legalize alkaline hydrolysis across Texas. At that time cremation had recently become the most common form of body disposition in the U.S. People cited a number of reasons for choosing cremation. One of the top reasons was the desire to minimize environmental impact.
What HB 1155 did was address the growing public demand for environmentally-friendly funeral services. It wasn’t about limiting options in any way but rather expanding them so families in Texas had more choices.
But as was the case in some other states where bills legalizing aquamation were passed, there was opposition. The opposition primarily came from the funeral home industry as well as a few religious organizations. Burial is the preference for those two groups. Their opposition appeared to be based more on preference for another form of body disposition rather than economical, social and environmental reasons.
Unfortunately, HB 1155 stalled within a few months of being introduced.
What’s Next for Aquamation in Texas
Since HB 1155 stalled, the cremation rate has risen higher. It went from 50.2% in 2016 to 57.5% in 2021. With each passing year more people choose cremation over burial, and it adds pressure on the Texas Legislature.
The fact that more states around the country are legalizing alkaline hydrolysis is another factor that could sway Texas legislators into passing a bill. Currently, 22 states have legalized or allow aquamation. Another seven states have laws pending, and it’s under consideration in Alaska. Soon the majority of states will have legalized the practice of water cremation.
And what about the champion of HB 1155? Sarah Davis represented the 134th District in the Houston area. This might help to explain her support for aquamation. Her district includes the Texas Medical Center. Ms. Davis left office on January 11, 2021. With Ms. Davis no longer a part of the Texas House of Representatives, there’s very little chance her stalled bill to legalize alkaline hydrolysis will be revived.
If Texas is going to join the growing list of states that are legalizing aquamation, then a new bill will need to be introduced. Given the changes that have happened in the funeral industry over the last five years, it’s reasonable to think another house representative will pick up the torch and make it happen. It’s also encouraging that HB 1155 was “reported favorably w/o amendment(s)” after a public hearing. That suggests lawmakers are open to the idea of making alkaline hydrolysis legal.
At Green Cremation Texas we’re helping families arrange legal aquamation services that are better for the environment. We also offer green flame-based cremation to families across Central Texas. Our team is available to answer your call, email or text 24 hours a day.