House Passes Legislation Removing Outdated Disability Language

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass two important bills updating Massachusetts General Laws by removing out-of-date terms related to persons with disabilities, and by renaming the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) as MassAbility.

“Updating the outdated language in reference to persons with disabilities in our states general laws is an important step towards building a more respectful society,” said Representative Haggerty. “The language we choose matters, and replacing the antiquated terms recognizes the inherent value of every person. These pieces of legislation help ensure our laws reflect the equal dignity and rights that all Massachusetts residents deserve.”

Bill H.4396, ‘An Act relative to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities,’ removes out-of-date and offensive language from the Massachusetts General Laws when referencing people with disabilities. The language in the bill removes all variations of outdated terms such as “handicapped,” “disabled,” and “retarded.” The bill replaces these terms with current terminology such as “person with a disability” and “person with an intellectual disability.” Additionally, the term “autistic” is replaced with “autism” in reference to Autism Awareness Month. Originally filed by Governor Healey, the House also passed legislation to rename the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to MassAbility and to update the outdated terms included in its enabling statute.  

Having passed the House of Representatives, “An Act relative to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities” now goes to the Senate for their consideration.

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