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Senate passes bill to use term "intellectual disabilities" instead of "R word"

A bill to replace the terms "mentally retarded" with the terms "intellectual disability" or "intellectually disabled," an effort known as "End the R Word," easily passed the Senate floor by a 32-0 vote on Wednesday.

It's the third year that Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, sponsor of SB 142 has been trying to change the language in criminal law, court rules and other official matters.  The change would not affect the content or effect of any laws.

“It’s positive because our people have really been the ones who pushed for this,” said Michele Poole, president of The Arc of Florida, after the bill passed. “They get bullied and we all know how words can hurt.”

House Bill 1119, sponsored by  Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, is ready to be heard in the House.

President Barack Obama signed a law in 2010 striking use of the term in federal policy. At least 39 states have taken similar action.