In response to Britney Spears’ conservatorship lawsuit, which attracted widespread attention as she sought to reclaim authority over her assets and livelihood, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill restricting conservatorships that provide legal guardianship over individuals.

A conservatorship must be documented by judges before one is granted, according to the new law, which was created by Democratic Assemblyman Brian Maienschein.

Following advocacy efforts, it is consistent with laws of a similar nature passed in other states. California is committed to defending the rights of residents with disabilities, according to a statement from Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

People who are found incapable of making important decisions for themselves may be placed under legal conservatorships, in which case a court-appointed conservator is granted responsibility over their finances and other important parts of their lives, often without their consent. People with intellectual or developmental problems as well as seniors who are suffering from dementia are most frequently involved.

A system that strips people like Spears, who spent nearly 14 years under a conservatorship, of their civil rights and their capacity to advocate for themselves, advocacy organizations claim, can cage people like Spears.

Inspired By Britney Spears (#FreeBritney), California Will Limit Conservatorships

In a statement following the signing of the new law, Governor Gavin Newsom referred to it as a “transformative reform to protect self-determination for all Californians” and said that it was “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.”

Britney Spears, a pop star and native of Mississippi who has openly struggled with her mental health, became the target of a large-scale #FreeBritney campaign that sought to restore the pop star’s control over her personal, financial, and medical decisions. Her father, James Spears, who served as her conservator, was accused by the woman of mistreating her.

To draw attention to Spears’ predicament, supporters mobilized online and offline. The case and the conservatorship process more generally received additional attention because of documentaries by The New York Times and Netflix on the effects of Spears’ conservatorship.

During the height of her career in 2008, when her father initially requested the conservatorship, she was a 26-year-old new mother who was experiencing a number of public mental health difficulties.

Spears’ conservatorship was terminated by a Los Angeles judge last year, and as a result of this victory, legislation to protect the rights of conservatees and make it more challenging for someone to become one has been proposed.

In a statement thanking the governor, Maienschein, a member of the San Diego City Council, stressed the significance of protecting the autonomy of people with disabilities.

The new legislation will facilitate the termination of probate conservatorships and grant prospective conservatees choice in choosing a conservator.

The announcement of Newsom’s decision was hailed as historic by the disability rights group Disability Voices United.

According to the group, “this statute underlines that conservatorships should be uncommon and the last resort.” People with disabilities should get support when necessary and should be guaranteed their legal rights by default.

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