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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bill would ban displaying, selling human remains

OLYMPIA – Selling or displaying human remains for commercial purposes would be illegal under a bill approved Friday by a House committee – except if it’s being done for educational reasons, or by a museum.

The House Public Safety Committee agreed that selling or displaying human body parts for commercial purposes should be a felony under most circumstances. But it approved exemptions for legitimate medical studies, search and rescue training, and displays at a museum.

Earlier in the week, Kitsap County Coroner Greg Sandstrom told the committee that people sometimes find skulls or other bones and think it is permissible to keep them or sell them, making it difficult to match remains with a missing persons’ database. There is an increase in people selling skulls, skeletons and other body parts on the Internet “for some macabre reason,” he said.

“If a person had a desire to kill their neighbor, if they wanted to kill them, take and boil them down to their bones and put them on the Internet and sell them on Craigslist – right now it would be perfectly fine,” Sandstrom said.

“The murder part wouldn’t be the OK part. That’s prohibited,” said Committee Chairman Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland.

Committee members made sure the bill was amended to address concerns by the motion picture industry for certain movies and to exempt museum displays like “Bodies,” which came to Seattle twice in the last 10 years with exhibits made from cadavers.

The bill was sent to the full House for a vote.

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