“R-Word” removed from Michigan’s state laws

Courtesy: Special Olympics Michigan

Michigan has officially removed the term “retard(ed)” from state laws.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley signed the bipartisan “R-Word” package of bills Friday morning at Hill Auditorium in Lansing.

Calley is authorized to sign legislation into law when the governor is out-of-state.

Lt. Governor Calley chairs the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, which released a report earlier this year recommending removal of the “R-Word” from state law in order to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Prior to Friday, the “R-Word” was used 15 times in a variety of Michigan laws dealing with everything from mental health institutions to educational facilities and criminal activity.  It will now be replaced with the term “developmental disability”.  There are only a handful of states left that have yet to take similar measures.  The terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” were removed from federal health, education and labor policy in 2010.

The Michigan Senate and House unanimously voted to remove the term “retard(ed)” from state laws earlier this month.