The Texas House took an initial step toward banning disrespectful language this morning, passing a bill to eliminate the word "retarded" from state statute.
"This law puts the person before the disability at no cost to the state," said Truitt, R-Keller.
The bill tweaks the Government Code, which, since 1965, has used the terms "mentally retarded" and "cripple" to describe those with mental and physical disabilities. It replaces the terms with "person first" language supported by disability rights advocates. Under Truitt's bill, "mentally retarded" becomes "person with intellectual disability," and "cripple" becomes "person with disabilities."
Danette Castle, CEO of the Texas Council of Community Centers, has called the legislation a “a simple yet powerful statement of respect and regard for people with intellectual disabilities who want what every good citizen wants: family, friends, a meaningful job and the opportunity to give back to a caring community.”
In 2010, the U.S. Congress enacted its own respectful-language bill called Rosa’s Law, which eliminates use of the word retarded in federal statutes.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.