Assemblyman Mike Gatto

SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Today, Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Glendale) legislation to provide access for adult children who wish to visit an ailing parent was signed into law by Governor Brown, culminating almost two-year’s worth of work on this issue. The legislation, AB 1085, will provide legal recourse for children who are 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 remedial mechanism for children or relatives to petition a court for visitation.

“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.”

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.

Assemblyman Gatto developed the legislation with several adult children who have been denied access to their ailing parents, including radio and television personality Kerri Kasem, current co-host of the “Protect Your Family” and “Gurvey’s Law” talk shows on KABC Radio. 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 struggled with poor health before his passing last year. After sharing her struggle to see her father on various media outlets, Kerri and Assemblyman Gatto received thousands of communications from across the country of similar stories of heartache. Recently, reported about how other states are following Assemblyman Gatto’s footsteps on this legislation.

“AB 1085 will provide hope to families experiencing isolation of a loved one by giving the court a way to provide visitation,” said Kasem. “I want to thank Assemblyman Gatto, and the Kasem Cares team that worked closely with him, for bringing more awareness to the issue of elder abuse through the passage of this important legislation.”

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Consumer Protection and Privacy Committee, and the longest-serving current member of the State Assembly. He represents California’s 43rd Assembly District, which includes 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.