Federal legislation would replace the word ‘retardation’ with the term ‘intellectual disability’
Last November, legislation was introduced that would remove the words “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal laws, replacing the terms with “intellectual disability.”
Known as ‘Rosa’s Law’, the legislation, introduced by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), will be marked up in the Senate Health, Education and Pensions Committee this week. If passed, the law would make changes in federal education, health and labor laws. On a whole, the measure has 42 bi-partisan co-sponsors in the Senate and 30 in the House.
The law is patterned after a Maryland statute that unanimously passed last year. Attention to the often hurtful consequences of the word “retard” came to very public blows after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin demanded the firing of White House Cheif of Staff Rham Emanuel after he called liberal healthcare activists “f—–g retarded.” The bill would establish consistent langauge across the federal government, hopefully encouraging a more respectful use of language and treatment for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
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