Legislature moves to strike offensive words from state publications

The Louisiana Legislature wants to remove outdated references to “the mentally ill,” “mental retardation,” “crippled” people and other obsolete or offensive terms from state law and encourage agencies to discontinue use of such language in their own materials.

House Bill 63, which would substitute certain terms for ones that are deemed less offensive, passed the state House and Senate with overwhelming support Monday and is now heading to Gov. Bobby Jindal for approval.

It directs the Louisiana State Law Institute to change references to disabilities and other exceptionalities throughout statutes and codes as necessary.

Among the changes, “mental retardation” would become “intellectual disability,” references to a “crippled person” will be subbed with references to a “person with a physical disability” and “the mentally ill” will be changed to “person with mental illness.”

HB 63 also focuses on future legislation, it would require that legislative services offices publish guidance on appropriate terminology in their drafting manuals.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter @elizabethcrisp. For more coverage of the Louisiana Legislature, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog .