SANTA FE ―Rep. Conrad James pre-filed legislation, HB 120, which would ensure visitation rights of adult children if their loved ones are under the care of another person.
“Children should not be forbidden from keeping in contact with their ill parents,” James said. “When an ill parent is under the care of another person, it is imperative that their children are able to visit them and maintain that relationship under those difficult circumstances.”
Not everyone sees eye to eye when it comes to visiting and caring for an elderly parent. This bill creates a civil proceeding for an adult child to petition a court for visitation with an elderly parent who does not live with the adult child and who does not have a legal guardian, balancing the interests of the adult child and of the elderly parent.
The bill also adds a requirement that guardians notify family members about the hospitalization, hospice care, death, the funeral arrangements for, and final resting place of a person who is under a guardianship. In addition, the bill amends existing law to address the duties of a guardian with respect to visitation of the person who is under guardianship.
James has been working with Kerri Kasem whose father, Casey Kasem, was moved from California to a nursing home in Nevada and then to Washington without his children’s knowledge or consent. Kasem has been working with lawmakers in states across the country for legislation that would prevent similar instances. Similar legislation has been passed in California, Texas and Iowa.
“New Mexico has taken the courageous path to end this type of senseless elder abuse. We need guardianship laws to change. We need visitation laws to change,” Kasem said.