Singer Britney Spears attends the Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Lester Cohen | BBMA2016 | Getty Images
Following Britney Spears’ battle to end her longstanding conservatoires, two members of the House of Representatives tabled a bill to protect Spears and others under legal custody or guardianship.
Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Florida., And Rep. Nancy Mace, RS.C. presented the bipartisan “Free Britney Act” on Tuesday.
The announcement comes a week after a judge ruled that the 39-year-old pop star can hire her own lawyer to challenge her conservatories.
“Abusive conservatories can be an endless nightmare, and tragically we don’t know how many people are being held against their will under the broken guardianship system,” Crist said in a statement Tuesday. “We know, however, that we need federal safeguards to protect those under guardianship from abuse and exploitation.”
When the Free Britney Act goes into effect, it would give individuals under legal guardianship or guardianship the right to require the replacement of their court-appointed private guardian with a public guardian who is “free of financial conflicts of interest” .
Current laws require that individuals prove in court that fraud or abuse has occurred in order for a guardian to be replaced.
The bill would also assign an independent case officer to those under supervision or guardianship. The case officer would be required to disclose their finances to ensure there was no conflict of interest and would be on the lookout for signs of abuse in a conservatory.
According to the bill, states would also have to provide an up-to-date database of how many people are under legal guardianship or care.
Spears’ legal endeavors to quit conservatory gained momentum after the February New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” was released. The documentary revolves around the so-called Free Britney movement and its struggles under their court-ordered conservatory, which after approval in 2008 gave their father extensive control over their life and finances.
An estimated 1.3 million adults in the US are subject to similar restrictive regulations, the bill introducing the bill said.
Conservatories appoint another person to manage the financial or personal decisions of a person deemed unable to fend for themselves. The arrangements are typically used for people with mental instability or dementia.
Spears’ Conservatory is noteworthy considering how young she was when it was imposed and how long it lasted.
“In some cases, conservatories can deprive able and innocent Americans of their money, careers, and even basic human rights, like the right to reproduction in the Spears case,” Mace said in a statement.
Spears began proceedings to remove her father from her conservatory parish last year, but her motion was denied by the court. She has alleged that her father used the agreement for personal gain, which he publicly denies.
In a hearing last month, Spears described the conservatories as “abusive” and asked a judge to end the agreement. She described how she was forced to use and use contraception despite wanting to have a child.
On Tuesday, Mace thanked Spears for “her courage” to share her experiences as a conservatory and to clarify the abuse that can occur under such court-ordered agreements.
“Britney Spears’ Conservatory is a nightmare. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone. Conservatories undoubtedly protect countless Americans at risk from abuse, but the case of Britney Spears shows a darker side of a system designed to protect people.” Mace said in the statement.
Spears said in an Instagram post on Tuesday that she will continue to speak out against her conservatories.
“I’ll never be able to let go and move on until I’ve said all I have to say … and I’m not even around !!!!” She said.