Michigan Wiping 'R-Word' From Its Laws

Bills will remove 'retarded' and related words from the books

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 28, 2014 9:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – A few choice words are likely to be excised from Michigan law today, as Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is set to sign what is known as the "R-Word" package of bills into state law. The package—which contains eight House bills and seven Senate bills passed unanimously last Thursday, the Detroit Free Press earlier reported—will replace words like "retarded" and "mental retardation" with "developmental disability." Those soon-to-be-wiped words appear 15 times in Michigan laws on everything from mental health to education, CBS Detroit reports.

Special Olympics Michigan reps praised the bills, noting "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" were removed from federal policy in 2010, and, aside from Michigan, there are only five states that haven't yet addressed the terms. "This is a historic day for Michigan," the organization's president said. "With the signing of these bills, those with developmental disabilities now have a new 'R-Word': respect." A Spread the Word to End the Word anti-bullying campaign is expected to follow at area schools.

In this July 19, 2013, file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during a news conference in Detroit.
In this July 19, 2013, file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during a news conference in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
In a Feb. 7, 2013 file photo Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley sits in Lansing, Mich.
In a Feb. 7, 2013 file photo Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley sits in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
The state Capitol in Lansing, Mich.
The state Capitol in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
The Capitol rotunda in Lansing, Mich.
The Capitol rotunda in Lansing, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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