(a) The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to regulate transactions between cemeteries, companies that set and install memorial monument markers and veterans in the fees and total charges for the setting of United States department of veterans' affairs grave markers at the graves of deceased United States Armed Forces veterans by authorizing the Public Service Commission to regulate the fees and total charges.
(b) The Legislature further finds that the Public Service Commission is the appropriate agency to determine the reasonable rates as charged by these cemeteries and companies that set and install memorial monument markers for the setting of these markers.
(a) In addition to its other powers and duties, the Public Service Commission may determine, establish and modify, in a manner that it considers appropriate, the fees and total charges imposed by cemeteries and companies that set and install memorial monument markers for the setting of United States department of veterans' affairs grave markers at the graves of deceased United States Armed Forces veterans.
If the commission establishes fees and total charges as authorized by this section, it shall establish:
(1) A maximum fee schedule to be designated "the regional permanent endowment care fund" which represents the costs to a cemetery for the perpetual care of the grave marker; and
(2) A maximum fee schedule to be designated as "the regional installation fees" which represents the costs of installation of the veteran grave marker.
Any fees established under this section shall consider regional market forces and may consider classes of veterans' markers or any other relevant conditions. The fees described in this section, when added together, shall be designated as the "total charges" permitted for the installation of a veteran's affairs memorial marker. No other fees, charges or other costs may be assessed to the veteran's estate or family for the installation or maintenance of the veteran's grave marker.
(b) Any fees and total charges established by the Public Service Commission may only apply to the installation of memorial markers that are provided to the veteran without charge by the U.S. government upon application.
Unless otherwise exempted in accordance with section six, article five-a, chapter thirty-five of this code, all cemeteries, cemetery associations, cemetery companies and perpetual care cemetery companies, irrespective of how each may be defined in articles five, five-a and five-b, chapter thirty-five of this code, and companies that set and install memorial monument markers fall within the purview of the regulatory powers exercised by the Public Service Commission in accordance with this chapter.
All cemeteries, cemetery associations, cemetery companies and perpetual care cemetery companies, irrespective of how each may be defined in articles five, five-a and five-b, chapter thirty-five of this code, and companies that set and install memorial monument markers shall not deny a person or entity the opportunity for installation and maintenance of United States Department of Veterans' Affairs' grave markers at the graves of deceased United States Armed Forces veterans for the total charges authorized by section two of this article.
The Public Service Commission may compel obedience to its lawful orders, as issued pursuant to this chapter, by mandamus or injunction or other proper proceedings in the name of the state in any circuit court having jurisdiction of the parties or of the subject matter, or the Supreme Court of Appeals direct, and the proceedings shall have priority over all pending cases.
Any party feeling aggrieved by the entry of a final order by the commission, which affects that party, may present a petition in writing to the Supreme Court of Appeals, or to a judge thereof in vacation, within thirty days after the entry of the order praying for the suspension of the final order. The applicant shall deliver a copy of the petition to the secretary of the commission on or before the date the petition is presented to the court or the judge and the secretary shall promptly file with the clerk of the court all papers, documents, evidence and other records constituting the complete record in the case or certified copies of the records that were before the commission at the time of the entry of the order which is appealed. The court or judge shall fix a time for the hearing on the application, but the hearing, unless by agreement of the parties, may not be held sooner than five days after its presentation; and notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be immediately delivered to the secretary of the commission. The commission may be represented at the hearing by one or more of its members or by counsel. After hearing the appeal, if the court or judge is of the opinion that an order suspending order should be issued, the court or the judge may require bond, upon reasonable conditions and in reasonable penalty, and impose terms and conditions upon the petitioner that are just and reasonable. Before the day fixed for the final hearing, the commission shall file a written statement of its reasons for the entry of the order with the court. After arguments by counsel, the court shall decide the matter in controversy.
No provision of this chapter may be construed to grant the Public Service Commission the power to regulate an affected cemetery or a company that sets and installs memorial monument markers as a utility.