May 26, 2010

Bill Removes ‘Mental Retardation’ From Law

Senators Give Nod To Bill Removing ‘Mental Retardation’ From Law

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A Senate committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in some parts of federal government, sending the measure to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill, known as “Rosa’s Law” would alter terminology used in federal health, education and labor policy, but would not change the rights of individuals with disabilities. The proposed change is not expected to incur any cost, so advocates are optimistic that the measure will be passed into law with little fanfare.

Many states have already begun using the term intellectual disability, as do some federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The measure now heads to the full Senate after being approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee. Advocates say they hope the House of Representatives will take up a companion bill to Rosa’s Law soon.

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