Debby Campbell-Cloyd and Travis Campbell have been battling with their stepmother, Kim Campbell, for visitation rights for more than a year. On May 16, Governor Haslam signed the Campbell / Falk Act into law.
The legislation allows family members and close friends of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other disabilities to visit their loved in person, or maintain contact with them by phone, email or mail, despite the stated wishes of a legally appointed conservator. The new law states that if the person can no longer communicate, like Campbell, then their prior relationship with the visitor presumes consent.
A Tase of Country reports the legislation takes precedence over previous Tennessee law, in which a conservator was allowed to determine sole visitation rights. The Campbell / Falk Act will require court intervention to put those restrictions in place.
The law is named for Campbell and Columbo star Peter Falk, whose daughter has claimed that her stepmother tried to prevent her from visiting her father and did not inform her about his death or funeral. Family members of both Campbell and Falk, as well as Campbell’s former love, Tanya Tucker, attended the signing of the legislation.