2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Aldridge
AN ACT TO REQUIRE CERTAIN PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO BE USED BY THE LEGISLATURE AND STATE AGENCIES WHEN REFERRING TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN NEW LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Legislature recognizes that language used in reference to individuals with disabilities shapes and reflects society's attitudes towards people with disabilities. Many of the terms currently used diminish the humanity and natural condition of having a disability. Certain terms are demeaning and create an invisible barrier to inclusion as equal community members. The Legislature finds it necessary to clarify preferred language for new laws and resolutions by requiring the use of terminology that puts the person before the disability.
(2) (a) The Legislature shall not use the following terms in any new statute or resolution after the effective date of this act: disabled, developmentally disabled, mentally disabled, mentally ill, mentally retarded, handicapped, cripple or crippled. After the effective date of this act, all legislation shall instead use the following terms in any new statute or resolution when referring to persons with disabilities: "individuals with disabilities," "individuals with developmental disabilities," "individuals with mental illness" and "individuals with mental retardation."
(b) No statute, resolution or any act of the Legislature is invalid because it does not comply with this section.
(3) (a) All state agency rules and regulations shall be formulated in accordance with the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) of this section.
(b) No agency rule or regulation or act is invalid because it does not comply with this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.