Assemblymember Brian Maienschein’s Landmark Disability and Aging Rights Bill Becomes California Law

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Brian Maienschein’s groundbreaking disability and aging rights legislation, Assembly Bill 1663, the Probate Conservatorship Reform and Supported Decision-Making Act, has been signed by the Governor.

AB 1663 significantly reforms the probate conservatorship system in California and, for the first time, recognizes Supported Decision-Making (SDM) into state law, ensuring that people with intellectual, developmental, and age-related disabilities maintain choice and control over their lives.

“Having choice and control over one’s life is a right everyone deserves, including individuals with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Brian Maienschein. “I am very proud that the Governor signed my groundbreaking measure, helping ensure that in California, people with disabilities maintain their individual freedoms and liberties.”

AB 1663 is supported by a broad coalition of disability and aging rights groups.

“This bill marks a historic moment in our fight to strengthen disability rights and ensure people with disabilities are not easily stripped of their civil rights through conservatorship,” said Judy Mark, President of Disability Voices United. “AB 1663 is landmark legislation that gives people with disabilities a right to support without involving the courts and prevents the abuse and overuse of conservatorships. This law affirms that conservatorships should be rare and the last resort. The default should be that people with disabilities retain their rights and get support when they need it. We deeply thank Governor Newsom for signing the bill and Assemblymember Maienschein for his leadership and unwavering commitment to people with disabilities.”

“For people with disabilities, the signing of AB 1663 makes sure they know an alternative to conservatorship is an option,” said Wesley Witherspoon, Chair of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Today, anyone can live their best life and experience the dignity of risk through supported decision-making—if that’s their choice—instead of being confined to a conservatorship.”

Britney Spears’ conservatorship case highlighted the deep flaws in California’s probate conservatorship system. Her case gained worldwide fame as it unfolded and served as a prime example of how easily people can become trapped in a system that robs them of things as simple as making choices in their daily lives.

“AB 1663 is a landmark bill designed in part to protect civil liberties and human rights and to ensure that conservatees are treated with respect and dignity. In many ways, it cuts through an antiquated system, while also making it easier to terminate conservatorships,” said Mathew Rosengart, the attorney that has represented Britney Spears throughout her journey to terminate her conservatorship. “Governor Newsom and Assemblymember Maienschein should be commended, as should Disability Voices United’s President Judy Mark and Megan Radford, Leanne Simmons and Kevin Wu, the leaders of Free Britney LA, for their tireless support of this legislation.”

AB 1663 will go into effect on January 1, 2023.