August 24, 2019

SB 16-026: Preventing Restriction of Communication Rights of Protected Persons

On January 13, 2016, Sen. Laura Woods introduced SB 16-026Concerning Personal Rights of Protected Persons, and, In Connection Therewith, Limiting the Ability of a Guardian or Conservator to Isolate a Protected Person. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was amended and referred to Appropriations.

The proposed bill provides that a guardian or conservator shall not restrict a protected person’s right of communication, visitation, or interaction with other persons. Unless a restriction is authorized by a court order, this includes the right to receive visitors, telephone calls, or personal mail. A court may issue such order restricting communications, visitations, or interactions if good cause can be shown by a guardian or conservator.

Additionally, an interested person, including the protected person, who has a reasonable belief that the guardian or conservator has violated the court order may move the court to do any one of the following: (1) require the guardian or conservator to grant a person access to the protected person; (2) restrict, or further restrict, a person’s access to the protected person; (3) modify the guardian or conservator’s duties; or (4) remove the guardian or conservator.

The proposed bill also provides that a guardian or conservator who knowingly isolates a protected person in violation of the law or a court order is subject to removal.

The bill also proposes certain instances in which the guardian or conservator must notify the protected person’s closest known family members or person designated by the protected person. These instances are: (1) if the protected person changes his or her residence; (2) if the protected person resides at a location other than his or her residence for more than 7 days; (3) if the protected person is admitted to a medical facility for acute care or emergency care; or (4) if the protected person dies.

Mark Proust is a 2016 JD Candidate at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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