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