April 24, 2013

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.

January 31, 2013

Ad touting Florida oversells state’s language skills

From Doug Hanks and the Miami Herald's Economic Time Machine:

[UPDATE: Around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Enterprise Florida wrote to the Economic Time Machine to say the ad had been revised to fix the error we pointed out earlier in the day. The version of the commercial on the campaign’s website, perfectbusinessclimate.com, no longer mentions multi-lingual wokers in Florida. Here at the ETM, we sometimes have to correct faulty figures, too, so we’ll happily consider the matter closed.]

A new ad touting Florida’s diverse workforce mistakenly puts English-only workers in the minority.

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday rolled out the state’s new “Perfect Climate for Business” campaign, which seeks to convince companies that Florida is just as good a place for commerce as it is for vacations. The video spot that’s a highlight of the $5 million effort includes the line: “We offer a talented workforce of over 9 million, including 5 million multi-lingual workers.”

That’s not quite right, according to Census figures. Florida does in fact have 9 million people in the workforce, but fewer than 3 million speak a foreign language at home, according to Mark Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. And only a portion of those workers are proficient in English, too.

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