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California #FreeBritney conservatorship bill becomes law

Supporters of the Free Britney movement hold a rally in support of Britney Spears in Los Angeles
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday signed legislation aimed at tackling conservatorship reform in light of the #FreeBritney movement, which has drawn international attention to Britney Spears’s struggles with her conservatorship.

The passage of the bill comes as Jamie Spears, who has been the conservator for his daughter for 13 years, was removed from her conservatorship earlier this week. Spears also seeks to be removed entirely from the conservatorship, which she called “traumatizing” and “abusive” while speaking before a judge in June. 

The legislation would impose financial penalties on professional conservators who have been found by a court to have abused their conservatee, invoking up to $10,000 per offense. For individuals who are not technically professional conservators but have been legally found to have abused a conservatee, they can be fined up to $1,000 per offense.

Professional conservators could see a sanction on their license “upon a finding of a violation of applicable statutes or regulations, a breach of fiduciary duty where there is a finding of serious financial or physical harm or mental suffering, or that the professional fiduciary has engaged in defined acts of abuse,” according to a legislative counsel’s digest of the bill.

The legislation would also amend the way that conservatees petition to have their guardians removed. The process generally requires a person to petition in order to have their guardian removed or to have a new one appointed. 

“The bill would require that the court, at specified hearings, consider terminating the conservatorship and would authorize the court in specified circumstances to modify the conservatorship so that the conservatorship is the least restrictive alternative needed for the protection of the conservatee,” according to the legislative counsel’s digest.

“California’s conservatorship system is failing people from every walk of life, whether they are a global superstar whose struggles unfortunately play out in public or a family unsure of how to take care of an elderly parent,” California Assemblymember Evan Low (D), who introduced the measure, said in a statement. “This bill saw unanimous, bipartisan support throughout the process because it’s painfully clear that we can and should do better.”

Tags #FreeBritney Britney Spears Britney Spears conservatorship California Conservatorship Free Britney movement Gavin Newsom Jaime Spears

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