The #FreeBritney movement continues to make waves in Congress. U.S. Representatives Nancy Mace (a Republican from South Carolina) and Charlie Crist (a Democrat from Florida) have introduced the bipartisan Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation (FREE) Act, which aims to establish federal safeguards for conservatees.
The FREE Act has been billed as a “four-pronged approach” to protecting individuals under guardianship. It would include the right to petition the court to have a private guardian or conservator replaced with a state-employed public guardian, a family member, or a private agent without the need to prove misconduct or abuse — as well as an assigned independent caseworker to monitor for signs of abuse and neglect. The act also calls for the disclosure of finances from caseworkers and public guardians to make sure there are no conflicts of interest as well as total transparency through annual reports on the state of the conservatorship.
“We want to make sure that we bring transparency and accountability to the conservatorship process,” Representative Mace said in an interview with Crist as they introduced the bill, via The New York Times. “The Britney Spears conservatorship, it’s a nightmare. If this can happen to her, it can happen to anybody.”
Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey have also asked federal agencies for increased oversight of conservatorships. In a letter to Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland they requested more data about conservatorships in the U.S. and how the agencies and state programs interact, per The New York Times.
They are not the first lawmakers to associate with the longstanding #FreeBritney movement this year. Conservative figures like Matt Gaetz have aligned themselves with the movement to enforce their own agendas, particularly when it comes to far-right ideology surrounding the government, censorship, bodily autonomy, and sovereignty.
Let’s #FreeBritney and countless others trapped in abusive guardianships. Proud to join @RepNancyMace to introduce the #FREEAct providing federal safeguards to protect persons under guardianship from abuse and exploitation. pic.twitter.com/cZwxCLAIRd
— Congressman Charlie Crist (@RepCharlieCrist) July 20, 2021