AK House Majority
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Press Release: Rep. Charisse Millett

House Passes Bill Adopting People First Language

HB 88 Removes Terms "Mental Retardation" & "Mentally Retarded" from Policies
Ak Legislative MajorityAk Legislative Majority
Rep. Charisse Millett R-24
Ak House Majority

Rep. Charisse Millett
(R-24)

Co-Chair, (H) ENE Com.
Ak Majority Organization

Ak Majority Organization

Posted: February 8, 2013
Contact: Vasilios Gialopsos, 465-3879


(Juneau) - The House of Representatives today unanimously passed legislation by Representative Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, that would update state health, education and labor policy by removing the terms "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" and replacing them with "intellectual and developmental disabilities."

Ak St Legislature Majority

Ak St Legislature MajorityYet even today, many do not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the word retard.
~ Rep. Charisse MillettAk St Legislature Majority

Ak St Legislature Majority

"Mental retardation has been transformed into a derogatory term that is sometimes used to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities," Millett said. "We have recognized the power of words to inflict pain with regard to race, and have taken great strides to foster an environment that rectifies the wrong. Yet even today, many do not recognize the hurtful, dehumanizing and exclusive effects of the word retard."

The changes HB 88 includes will make state statutes consistent with language in federal law, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the White House through the President's Committee for people with Intellectual Disabilities.

"More than 40 states have adopted "people first" language in their state statutes. Alaska should not be an outlier when it comes to matters such as this," Millett said.

HB 88 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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