Mike Gatto’s Bill to Give Rights to Children
Denied Access to Ailing Parents Approved by Assembly
Legislation was inspired by Kerri Kasem, daughter of radio personality Casey Kasem, who was denied visitation rights to her now deceased father.
SACRAMENTO, CA - Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Glendale) legislation to provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit an ailing parent was approved by the Assembly with a 77-0 vote. The legislation, AB 1085, will provide legal recourse when children are being denied access to a parent by their parent’s current spouse or another family member.
With divorce and remarriage common, there is a possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and a child from an ailing parent’s previous marriage. Current law provides no mechanism for children or relatives to petition a court for visitation when they are denied access. Nor is there an obligation for such caretakers even to inform family members when an elder dies.
AB 1085 would give judges authority to direct, or grant, a conservator the power to enforce senior's right to receive visitors, telephone calls, and personal mail. This will be an important mechanism for families attempting to connect with elders for what is often the last time. The measure also will require caretakers to give notice of an elder’s death to certain family members. The legislation represents the culmination of almost two-year’s worth of work on this issue by Assemblyman Gatto.
“Conflict among family members is the last thing our loved ones want to see as they approach their final hours,” said Gatto. “I hope this bill will help decrease the heartache and stress of families already facing difficult circumstances.”
Assemblyman Gatto has been working to develop the legislation with several adult children who have been denied access to their ailing parents, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem, current co-host of the show “Protecting Your Family” on KABC Talk Radio. Kerri is an outspoken advocate of visitation rights for adult children as a result of her struggle to see her beloved father, broadcasting legend Casey Kasem, who struggled with poor health before his passing last year. After sharing her struggle to see her father on various media outlets, Kerri and Assemblyman Gatto received thousands of communications from across the country of similar stories of heartache.
“The law must do more to keep up with the changing norms of modern families,” said Gatto. “AB 1085 brings the law into the 21st century and allows family members to spend time with their loved ones before they pass away.”
Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Consumer Protection and Privacy Committee, and the longest-serving member of the State Assembly. He represents California’s 43rd Assembly District, which includes Burbank, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake. www.asm.ca.gov/gatto
Contact: Eric Menjivar (818) 558-3043