Free Britney Spears movement inspires California lawmakers to consider seismic changes to conservatorship law
The fan-led movement to free Britney Spears from her conservatorship has inspired California lawmakers to consider changing the law around the complex legal arrangement.
Spears, 39, has for more than a decade seen her affairs, which includes her estate, career and mental health, governed by her father, Jamie Spears, among others, as part of a court-ordered conservatorship.
This arrangement, also called a guardianship, was put in place after Britney suffered a mental health crisis in 2007.
After blows to Britney’s bid to remove her Jamie from the conservatorship wilted morale, the #FreeBritney movement received a boost as lawmakers proposed a pair of bills that might dramatically impact Britney’s legal case, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Framing Britney Spears exposed ‘some of the worst aspects’ of conservatorships
AB 1194, assemblymember Evan Low told the newspaper, would “pull back the curtain on conservatorships in California”.
Low said that Framing Britney Spears exposed “some of the worst aspects of the system and the fact that it does not always protect individuals like her”.
“We know abuses are occurring,” he said.
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His bill, Low said, would introduce a new requirement that means if a family member who is not a licensed professional is appointed as a conservator, they must undergo 10 hours of training in financial abuse.
Moreover, if the bill is signed into law, untrained conservators, such as Jamie, would be registered with the state’s oversight agency, the Professional Fiduciaries Bureau.
If a conservator is found by a court to have exploited a person’s estate, the bureau would be able to have that conservator’s licence suspended or revoked. They would also face a $50,000 penalty paid back to the conservatee’s estate.
“There are many people who are seniors or vulnerable in other ways and are being taken advantage of,” Low said.
“We want to ensure that we are taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves.”
A second proposal in the pipeline, Senate Bill 724, would ensure that people in Britney’s position can choose their own attorney.
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