Delegate Saab Introduces Bill to Address Visitation Rights
Delegate Sid Saab of Anne Arundel County (District 33) has introduced House Bill 1165 - Duties of Guardian of the Person - Notice and Visitation by Family. A bipartisan bill supported by many House members, this bill would expand the duties of a guardian of a disabled person to include enforcing the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, personal mail, and electronic communications. It would also require guardians to inform specified relatives if the disabled person passes away and would give visitation rights to specified adult children and grandchildren.
Delegate Saab has been working with Kerri Kasem and the non-profit Kasem Coalition to ensure visitation rights of family members to disabled relatives. Kerri Kasem is the daughter of Casey Kasem who began lobbying for this type of visitation bill after her late father was moved from his nursing home in California, first to Nevada and then to Washington State, without his children’s knowledge or consent. Kerri has been lobbying with lawmakers in states across the country for legislation that would prevent similar instances. Similar bills have already been passed in California, Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia and pending in others. A visitation bill like this has passed in 8 other states so far, and is pending in 7 others.
“It’s time for Maryland to end this type of senseless elder abuse,” said Delegate Saab. “We as a society are obligated to protect and make sure that the elderly and the disabled are able to still see and communicate with their loved ones and not be held hostage by their guardian or caretaker, as Casey Kasem was. We need visitation laws to change.”
Attorney Troy Martin says, "This is the most comprehensive bill that has been introduced to date. It allows an adult child to petition for visitation without filing a petition for guardianship. But, if a guardianship is necessary, it makes clear that the ward retains the right to determine with whom he or she visits with, and will allow a court to order a guardian to permit visitation. This bill should become the model for all future legislation on the subject."
HB 1165 was heard earlier this week in the House Health and Government Operations Committee. If you are impacted with this bill or would like to help with its passage, please contact Delegate Saab's office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank Delegate Saab for his tireless advocacy on this issue and protecting the rights of family members of those disabled!