California’s AB937, introduced by Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski,codifies basic personal rights for the state’s most vulnerable citizens. The right to have visitors, the right to receive phone calls, and the right to receive mail are already part of California law. However, these personal rights are often violated by court appointed conservators seeking unbridled power over vulnerable individuals.
(a) Subject to subdivision (b), the guardian or conservator, but not a limited conservator, has the care, custody, and control of, and has charge of the education of, the ward or conservatee. This control shall not extend to personal rights retained by the conservatee, including, but not limited to, the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail, unless specifically limited by court order.
In favor of the bill are California Advocateds for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR), numerous Long-Term Care Ombudsman and elder advocates throughout the state. Families of abuse victims strongly favor the rights stated in AB937.
Opposing the bill is the Californial Association of Public Administrators, Public Guardians and Public Conservators. Santa Clara County Public Guardian Don Moody and Director of the California Department of Social Services Will Lightbourne are also on record as opposing personal rights for conservatees.
Opposition from Moody and Lightbourne is not surprising. Moody’s department unlawfully imprisoned and isolated conservatees Gisela Riordan and Lillie Scalia for years. The abuse began when Lightbourne was Santa Clara County Social Services Agency Director. After moving to Sacramento, Lightbourne publicly supported ongoing abuse by Moody. Riordan and Scalia regained their rights only after coverage by the ABC7 I-Team in San Francisco.
AB937 does not change California law. The bill simply clarifies existing personal rights and codifies those rights into the Probate Code.
The full Assembly will vote on AB937 on Thursday, May 16, 2013.
Letters of support can be sent to:
Legislative Aide Heather Falkenthal
Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski
Office: (916) 319 – 2025
Fax: (916) 319 – 2125
Full Article and Source:
Elder Advocates Urge Support of California AB937 to Curb Elder Abuse