Bills would strike ‘mental retardation’ from laws

Two Alaska lawmakers have introduced legislation striking terms like “mentally retarded” from state laws.

Sen. Kevin Meyer said “mental retardation” used to be a clinical term used with good intentions. But he said in a news release that the term is now used to degrade and insult people with intellectual disabilities.

Bills introduced by Meyer and Rep. Charisse Millett would replace the terms “mentally retarded” and “mental retardation” with “intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Millett said similar legislation has been in 40 other states. She says the proposal is a great first step in creating awareness and equality for people with disabilities.

The bill is SB39 in the Senate and HB88 in the House.