California Gov. Newsom Signs ‘#FreeBritney’ Bill to Reform Conservatorship Laws

California Gov. Newsom Signs '#FreeBritney' Bill to Reform Conservatorship Laws man walks down street holding pink free britney sign (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 01 October 2021 11:00 AM

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed the "#FreeBritney" bill into law in a move that reforms the state’s legal guardianship laws.

Politico noted that critics had pushed for the reforms to the state’s guardianship laws claiming the existing measure have led to many Californians being exploited, including pop star Britney Spears.

The bill mandates professional conservators disclose their fees online while prohibiting financial conflicts of interest. It also beefs up enforcement actions against those found to be not acting in the best interests of their clients.

Democrat State Assemblymember Evan Lowe applauded Newsom for signing the bill.

He tweeted on Thursday: "Thank you, Gov. @Gavin Newsom, for signing AB 1194 – aka the #FreeBritney bill – into law.

"We need to overhaul the system to help everyone involved with a conservator case in California whether they’re a global pop star or a family struggling to take care of a loved one."

And in a statement attached to his tweet, he said: "California’s conservatorship system is failing people from every walk of life, whether they are a global superstar whose struggles unfortunately play out in public or a family unsure of how to take care of an elderly parent. This bill saw unanimous, bipartisan support throughout the process because it’s painfully clear that we can and should do better."

Politico noted grassroot activism in the case of Britney Spears sparked the "FreeBritney" movement.

On Wednesday, a judge suspended her father from the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years, The Associated Press reported.

Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny agreed with a petition from Spears and her attorney that James Spears needs to relinquish his role as conservator.

James Spears, who sought the conservatorship in 2008 and had been its primary controller, had reversed course in recent weeks, asking the judge to end the conservatorship.

Politico noted that most of the new law’s provisions won’t go into effect until 2023 or 2024.