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.”Read more
The recent decisions facing the Casey Kasem family are among the most difficult that one will ever face. As this life-and-death drama unfolds in public, through quick sound bites and opposing viewpoints, the messages have become confusing and murky.
I have been friends with Kerri Kasem for almost ten years. In that time we have worked together and traveled to places near and far away. We have attended gatherings with family and friends, socialized with her siblings, attended parties, played board games, and celebrated life moments. Kerri and the Kasem Family are kind, warm, thoughtful, and family-oriented.