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Rep. Charlie Crist spearheads bipartisan conservatorship bill inspired by #FreeBritney movement

Britney Spears' conservatorship battle has prompted legislative action.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As Britney Spears continues her conservatorship battle in court, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat from St. Pete and Florida gubernatorial candidate, is launching a legislative effort to help the pop star and others in her position.

Crist joined forces with Republican Rep. Nancy Mace Tuesday to unveil the Freedom and Right to Emancipate from Exploitation, or FREE Act. 

The bipartisan-backed legislation aims to protect Americans under guardianship and conservatorship from abuse and exploitation.

"Let’s #FreeBritney and countless others trapped in abusive guardianships," Rep. Crist wrote on Twitter.

The FREE Act would allow people to petition a court to replace their conservators without having to "prove misconduct or abuse." It would also assign each person under conservatorship an independent caseworker, and require that caseworker, along with conservators, to disclose their finances for transparency.

Lastly, the legislation would require states to submit annual reports on how many people are under guardianships or conservatorships.

"Britney Spears' conservatorship is a nightmare. If it can happen to her, it can happen to anyone," Rep. Mace said. "Conservatorships undoubtedly protect countless vulnerable Americans from abuse, but the case of Britney Spears reveals a darker side to a system meant to protect people."

Britney Spears' conservatorship battle has garnered public support in recent weeks as fans across the world heard the singer break down in tears while describing the “cruelty" of her conservatorship. 

“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive," Spears said, adding at another point, “I want my life back.”

For the first time, she publicly condemned her father and others who control the conservatorship, which she said has forced her to use birth control and take other medications against her will, and prevented her from getting married or having another child.

While Spears' case has brought conservatorship into the public eye, it's not a new issue.

In fact, an estimated 1.3 million adults in the U.S. are under similar arrangements, according to the Justice Department. 

A bill similar to the FREE Act was introduced in 2019 but did not advance out of committee.

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