Free Britney Act: Rep. Mace co-sponsors bill aimed at conservatorships

Politics

WASHINGTON (NBC News) – A bipartisan bill is being introduced Tuesday in an effort to help those individuals with conservatorships petition courts to replace their private guardian or conservator.

The Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation Act, also called The Free Act or Free Britney Act, is co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, of South Carolina and Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, of Florida.

The group held a virtual newser Tuesday to announce the bill, which follows Britney Spears’ recent allegations of abuse during her conservatorship.

Mace released the following statement on the bill:

Britney Spears’ conservatorship is a nightmare. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. Conservatorships undoubtedly protect countless vulnerable Americans from abuse, but the case of Britney Spears reveals a darker side to a system meant to protect people.

In some cases, conservatorships can rob capable and innocent Americans of their money, careers, and even basic human rights, like the right to reproduce in Spears case.

To see a woman like Britney Spears have her most basic human rights permanently stripped away from her under the guise of ‘protection’ should be illegal. Our bipartisan bill will do more than #FreeBritney, it will give anyone in a conservatorship the right to petition the court for a public guardian with absolutely no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise. This is a solid first step toward conservatorship reform. I want to thank Ms. Spears for her courage in coming forward.

The new legislation would provide a pathway so that individuals have the right to petition a judge to replace a private guardian or conservator with a public guardian, family member, or designated agent as defined in their estate documents.

Currently, it’s up to the individual to prove misconduct or abuse in court in order to get their guardian replaced.

The bill would also appoint independent caseworkers to every individual under guardianship to monitor for signs of abuse and inform them of their rights.

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