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Image via Recompose

Colorado State Representative Brianna Titone displays the Recompose cycle.

In the classic Schoolhouse Rock cartoon I’m Just a Bill, a boy remarks, “Gee Bill, you sure have a lot of patience and courage,”- it’s true. Going from an idea, to getting a bill written and sponsored by legislators, passed through committees, approved by the House and Senate and engaging the public’s support can take years, plus a lot of hard work and patience from a dedicated community. But with your help, we’ve been doing it!

While the process can vary from state to state here is a basic overview of how a human composting bill becomes a law. You can also listen to the How a Human Composting Bill Becomes Law episode of our podcast.


Step 1: Getting Your Idea Sponsored By a Legislator

Natural Organic Reduction (NOR) aka human composting laws began when Founding Order Member, and Recompose Founder Katrina Spade met with her local representative, Washington State Senator Jamie Pedersen, for a coffee in their neighborhood. Katrina introduced her idea and Senator Pedersen agreed to sponsor the bill. This completed the first steps – an idea, and getting a legislator to agree to be the bill’s sponsor.

Step 2: Writing a Bill

There are legal experts to consult, death professionals, policy strategists, and more. To give you an idea of all that goes into a bill here’s New York’s Assembly Bill A382.

Step 3: Committee Review

Once a bill is written, sponsored, and introduced it is studied by government committees. For example, the Washington bill was passed on to three different committees: Labor and Commerce, Consumer Protection and Business, and Appropriations. This process is repeated once a bill passes in the House or Senate, it will be submitted to other committees for review.


Step 4: Testimony From Constituents and Industry Professionals 

Certain individuals and connected professionals may be invited to provide live testimony to the committee as well. In the past funeral directors, chaplains, and people who were family or friends of an individual who was compsted have offered valuable insight and experience.

Before the bill is scheduled to be heard on the House and Senate floors for discussion, debate and (hopefully) approval, you’ll see a call to action on The Order’s social media platforms asking people to send in letters of support. Your letters make a significant difference! On numerous occasions government officials and lobbyists have remarked on the surprising number of letters received and their impact on their decision to support a bill. We know it can be hard to stay motivated when this process needs to be repeated over and over again as the bill makes its way through various committees and floor debates, but taking those extra 2-3 minutes to send that email results in you making death history.

Step 5: Bill Approved by House and Senate

The bill passes if it garners a majority of ‘yes’ votes in both House and Senate.

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Step 6: Governor Signs Bill into Law 

Once a bill is passed by both House and Senate, it goes to the state’s governor for their signature. Once the governor signs, the law will go into effect 90 days later. There can be exceptions such as the California bill that was signed in 2022, but will not go into effect until 2027 to allow time for the creation of operating policies and procedures for composting facilities.

If you want to see how the life of a NOR bill plays out in real time, from the day it is filed to the day it goes into effect including committee reports, and video from meetings, and more you can view this outline of the Washington Bill’s history.