Mike Gatto’s Bill to Protect the Right of Children to Visit Ailing Parents Passes First Committee

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Legislation was inspired by Kerri Kasem, daughter of broadcasting legend Casey Kasem, who has been denied hospital visitation of her ailing father for years.

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 SACRAMENTO, CA—Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Los Angeles) legislation to provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents cleared its first legislative hurdle yesterday, passing the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 10-0.  The legislation, AB 2034, seeks to protect children from being denied access to a parent by a parent’s future spouse or child.

Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent.  With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage.  Gatto’s legislation would require children and siblings to be informed when a loved one enters into acute medical care for more than three days, create a legal process for adult children to petition for visitation, and allow all Californians to specify in advance the persons they would allow to have visitation rights.

“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 children who have been denied access to their ailing parents, including Kerri Kasem, radio and television personality, and current co-host of the show “Sixx Sense” with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.  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 has struggled with poor health in recent years.

After sharing her struggle to see her father on “Sixx Sense,” Kerri received thousands of communications from across the country of similar stories of heartache.  One notable example came from Catherine Falk, the daughter of actor Peter Falk, who maintained a loving relationship with her father for more than thirty years.  In 2008, Mr. Falk became completely incapacitated as a result of advanced dementia.  Mrs. Falk, however, failed to inform Catherine, or his other children of his declining condition and refused to allow his children to visit their ailing father.

“The law must do more to keep up with the changing norms of modern families,” said Gatto.  “AB 2034 brings the law into the 21st century and allows family members to focus on caring for their loved ones.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the California State Assembly.  He represents 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 <http://www.asm.ca.gov/gatto>  

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3 Comments for : Mike Gatto’s Bill to Protect the Right of Children to Visit Ailing Parents Passes First Committee
    • Lorelle Guglielmoni
    • May 22, 2014

    Visitation rights are not only an issue in blended families but in highly dysfunctional families. Whomever controls the ailing parent’s small
    world must be of high moral character or else the vulnerable elderly
    can be harmed either physically, emotionally or financially. It is unfortunate most families do not have the ability to fund protective civil actions. Furthermore the expolitation “bar” in terms of Adult Protective/law enforcement intervention is set so high, very often these frail victims fail to fully recover. Other high profile media cases: Brooke Astor, Mickey Rooney, Hugette Clark highlight the “system’s” inadequacies.
    This proposed legislation represents a step forward to protect not only ailing parents – but eventually all of us! Our federal goverment along with the states have been monitering the changing demographics and the ensuing victimization of our elderly for many years. The floodgates are opening!

    • Carrie
    • June 25, 2014

    This bill is awesome. I wish it could be nation wide. I wish it would pass in Alabama! Good luck. I hope it sets aN example for other states

    • Fredra
    • July 7, 2014

    This Bill is needed. I wish it were in place when my dad died about 5 years ago. I was kept from seeing my dying dad along with his two biological children. He had been my step father for nearly 50 years. He died without us by his side. He died believing we did not love him. This caused me to go into a deep depression for several years. My mom not only kept us from seeing him but had him cremated and ashes thrown out to sea instead of putting him in the military cemetery by their home with a military honors burial so that we would have no place to visit and honor him. She will burn in hell…I know one day I will see my dad in heaven.

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