2005 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Frazier, Burton, Dearing, Harden, Jackson (11th)
AN ACT TO DIRECT LEGISLATIVE DRAFTING OFFICES AND STATE AGENCIES TO USE CERTAIN RESPECTFUL REFERENCES TO INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE PREPARATION OF LEGISLATION AND RULES; 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 and revised laws and rules by requiring the use of terminology that puts the person before the disability.
(2) The legislative drafting offices of the House and Senate are directed to avoid all references to the terms "disabled," "developmentally disabled," "mentally disabled," "mentally ill," "mentally retarded," "handicapped," "cripple" and "crippled," in any new statute, memorial or resolution, and to change those references in any existing statute, memorial or resolution as sections including those references are otherwise amended by law. The drafting offices are directed to replace the terms referenced above as appropriate with the following revised terminology: "individuals with disabilities," "individuals with developmental disabilities," "individuals with mental illness" and "individuals with mental retardation."
(3) No statute, memorial or resolution is invalid because it does not comply with this section.
(4) All state agency orders creating new rules, or amending existing rules, shall be formulated in accordance with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section regarding the use of respectful language.
(5) No agency rule 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.