Neb. lawmakers may drop term 'mental retardation'

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska residents with developmental disabilities are asking lawmakers to remove the term "mental retardation" from state laws.

The Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee considered a bill by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash on Wednesday that would replace the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability" in statutes.

Coash says Nebraska should join the federal government and 44 other states in eliminating all forms of the word "retardation" from laws. Congress approved the wording change for federal laws in 2010.

Coash, who works in the field of developmental disabilities, also asked that laws say "a person with intellectual disabilities" rather than "a disabled person."

Several disability advocates testified in support of the bill, saying the r-word is demeaning and it's time for Nebraska to stop using it.

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The bill is LB343.

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