There’s a important new bill coming up in our state legislature, AB-1663, that would protect people with disabilities from being put under restrictive conservatorships (sometimes known as guardianships) when it’s not necessary. The bill was inspired by the Britney Spears case, which helped many legislators understand that the California conservatorship system is is hurting too many people, and needs more oversight. AB-1663 is a good thing!
Here is an example of what AB-1663 would do to protect our California community members:
“The bill would require a petition for a general conservatorship of a person with a developmental disability to indicate why a limited conservatorship does not meet the needs of the proposed conservatee. The bill would require the court to provide conservatees with written information regarding their rights and options, including a personalized list of the rights the conservatee retains.”
This means that people cannot conserve disabled people as easily as they used to. It means that people with disabilities who are either fully or partially conserved will have a clear record of their rights. It does NOT mean that people with disabilities will be barred from getting the supports they need and deserve.
What can you do to help? Our state legislators need to hear from you, their constituent, that reworking the conservatorship system is the right thing to do. Specifically, the Judiciary Committee needs to hear from people like you by March 8th. You can submit a letter about AB-1663 to them through their portal: calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates. The portal requires you to register your email address and create a password.
Here is an example of a letter to the Judiciary Committee:
“As the parent of an adult autistic man who requires 24/7 care yet is not conserved, I support AB 1663. Our conservatorship system as it exists does too little to ensure that parents and guardians are aware of options to conservatorship, and are made fully aware of the pitfalls of assigning conservatorship to people who might not the best interests of our loved ones and our peers in mind. We need more oversight, and more safeguards in the conservatorship process.
If you have any questions please let us know. And please spread the word to other people who can help!