Britney Spears’ conservatorship case has prompted efforts to get new legislation passed to help protect the rights of people placed under such arrangements.
The bipartisan effort is being led by Representatives Charlie Crist, a Democrat from Florida, and Nancy Mace, a Democrat from South Carolina.
On Tuesday, Crist and Mace unveiled the FREE Act (which stands for Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation Act, according to The New York Times), which aims to give more recourse to people placed under conservatorships.
Such measures would include the ability to talk about their situations with caseworkers – over any objections from their conservators – and petition a court to replace their conservators without having to “prove wrongdoing or malfeasance”. The measure would also provide at least $260m (£190m) in grant funds for states to hire caseworkers or conservators.
“This is just a commonsense approach to doing what is right, to making sure that rights are balanced,” Crist said during a virtual news conference on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
Mace and Crist told the news agency their proposal for new legislation was spurred by Spears’ passionate court address in which she denounced her own conservatorship last month.
“What she had was an opportunity to do is bring to light, to shine a light, on those abuses,” Mace said. “Her situation is a nightmare, and if it can happen to Britney Spears, it can happen to anyone in this country.”
Speaking on 23 June, Spears described the conservatorship that has ruled her personal life and finances for more than a decade as “embarrassing and demoralising”. Her court-appointed attorney has since stepped down and has been replaced with a lawyer picked by Spears.
The Associated Press contributed to this report