Arizona removing 'retardation,' 'crippled' from statutes
From the Arizona Republic:
Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and his family were among the roughly two dozen individuals who attended a ceremonial bill signing in Gov. Jan Brewer's office Thursday, celebrating passage of legislation that removes the words “mental retardation” and “crippled” from state statutes.
Special Olympics Arizona brought the issue to the attention of lawmakers. It is part of a larger nationwide effort called “Spread the Word to End the Word.” According to the Special Olympics website, the campaign aims to eliminate the use of the word “retarded” from the everyday vernacular, calling it both demeaning and offensive.
In October, advocates for the disabled cheered when President Barack Obama signed legislation that removed all references to “retarded” and “retardation” from federal health, education and labor law, replacing it with “intellectual disability.”
The Arizona bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Cecil Ash, a Mesa Republican who also serves as chairman of the House's Health and Human Services Committee, made similar changes to the Arizona Revised Statutes, replacing “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” and “crippled” with “physically disabled.”
Kate Fassett, government relations and business-development executive for HighGround, the lobbying firm that represents Special Olympics Arizona at the Legislature, said Arizona is the first state in the nation to remove the outdated references.
Brewer signed House Bill 2213 in April, and the legislation will take effect Sept. 30.