House lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect Americans like pop star Britney Spears and others whom they say are having their rights stripped away by the country’s unfair conservatorship systems.
The measure is sponsored by Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and is called the Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation, or the FREE Act or the Free Britney Act.
According to The Hill Newspaper, the bill would give victims of conservatorship abuse the right to petition a judge to replace their private conservator and instead designate an independent caseworker to every case “to monitor signs of abuse.”
Right now, people must prove in court that abuse or fraud has occurred for the guardian to be replaced.
“We want to make sure that we bring transparency and accountability to the conservatorship process,” Mace told The New York Times. “The Britney Spears conservatorship, it’s a nightmare. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody.”
Spears recently appeared before a California court to call her roughly 13-year-long conservatorship “abusive,” in an attempt to end the agreement. Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, created the conservatorship to protect his daughter and her assets when she started to struggle with mental health issues.
Last November, Jamie Spears’ legal team said its client, now a co-conservator, has worked hard to restore his daughter’s “good health, reunite her with her children and revive her career.”
“Throughout his service as conservator, Mr. Spear’s sole motivation has been his unconditional love for his daughter and a fierce desire to protect her from those trying to take advantage of her,” wrote Jamie’s legal team, according to CBS News.
Other members of Congress supporting an end to Spears’ conservatorship and reform of conservatorship systems include Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, and GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, along with GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, and Jim Jordan, of Ohio.
Gaetz and Jordan have requested a congressional hearing about conservatorship systems and have asked Spears to testify.