A Closer Look With Steve Hopkins “Death Certificates”


By: Steve Hopkins

Death Certificates

One of the biggest requests for help I get is for assistance in getting a family member’s death certificate expedited by the state. The average wait time is between 7 and 8 weeks. Seriously?

Why does it take so long? All final death certificates come from the State Medical Examiner so you can imagine the backlog. The bigger question should be, “Why is the State Medical Examiner processing all of the death certificates when every county in Mississippi has its own coroner?”

Moving this process to the counties is better in so many ways. In the counties anytime there is a death the county coroner is involved and will determine the cause of death and if an autopsy is required. Once the county coroner has published their findings they could just as easily provide certified copies of the death certificate to the funeral director handling the arrangements. The funeral director could then pass them along to the family members who ordered them.

Oh the savings!!! The State Medical Examiner alone makes $240,000 a year! Eliminating the State Medical Examiner’s office would save the state around 2.5 million dollars every year. There are only 11 full time employees that would be affected.

True Conservatism is about giving back control to local governments and that is just what I intend to propose with legislation to eliminate the State Medical Examiner’s office and move this function back to the counties. Jackson has to look at ways to downsize and downsize dramatically.

The state is not only the largest employer in Mississippi but it also has the highest number of six figure incomes. It’s time for the political lip service to end and the work on actually downsizing the size and scope of government to begin.