New California regulation limits conservatorships after Britney Spears saga


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a invoice limiting conservatorships that grant authorized guardianship over people, a transfer that comes after Britney Spears’ conservatorship case garnered nationwide consideration amid her makes an attempt to regain management over her funds and livelihood.

The new regulation, authored by Democratic Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, will require that judges doc all alternate options to a conservatorship earlier than granting one. It aligns with related laws adopted in different states, following a push from advocates. In a press release, Newsom, a Democrat, stated the state is dedicated to defending the rights of Californians with disabilities.

People deemed to be unable to make sure life selections for themselves may be positioned into authorized conservatorships by which a court-appointed conservator is given management over their funds and different important facets of their life, generally with out their consent. They most frequently contain folks with developmental or mental disabilities or these with age-related points like dementia.

Advocacy teams contend that folks like Spears, who was beneath a conservatorship for practically 14 years, can change into trapped in a system that removes their civil rights and the flexibility to advocate for themselves.

“This measure is an important step to empower Californians with disabilities to get needed support in caring for themselves and their finances, while maintaining control over their lives to the greatest extent possible,” Newsom wrote in a signing assertion, calling the brand new regulation a “transformative reform to protect self-determination for all Californians.”

Spears, the pop singer and Mississippi native who has publicly struggled along with her psychological well being, ended up on the middle of a widespread #FreeBritney marketing campaign geared toward regranting the pop singer authority over her medical, private and monetary selections. She alleged she turned a sufferer of misconduct by the hands of her father, James Spears, who was her conservator.

Fans and advocates rallied on-line and in particular person to carry consideration to Spears’ state of affairs. Documentaries by The New York Times and Netflix on the results of Spears’ conservatorship introduced renewed highlight to the case and the conservatorship course of extra broadly. She was a 26-year-old new mom who had a number of public psychological well being struggles throughout the peak of her profession in 2008, when her father sought the conservatorship, at first on a brief foundation.

A Los Angeles choose ended Spears’ conservatorship final 12 months, a win adopted by legislative proposals to guard the rights of conservatees and efforts to make it harder for folks to finish up in a single.

Maienschein, who represents elements of San Diego, thanked the governor in a press release, noting the significance of making certain the autonomy of individuals with disabilities.

The new regulation will give potential conservatees desire for choosing a conservator and make it simpler to finish probate conservatorships.

Disability rights group Disability Voices United referred to information of Newsom’s determination as historic.

“This law affirms that conservatorships should be rare and the last resort,” the group wrote. “The default should be that people with disabilities retain their rights and get support when they need it. ”


Sophie Austin is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points. Follow Sophie Austin on Twitter.

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